A Small Good Thing Raymond Carver

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Morgan Pesante Professor Katherin Nolte English 2326 17 December 2013 Raymond Carver: Cathedral 1. In “Feather’s,” the somewhat silent and solemn dinner the two couples share impacts Jack and Fran’s lives, as that night transpires into an attempted “change” within their marriage. While Fran pinpoints that evening as an immediate shift, Jack believes the change came later, after their child was born. Jack recalls, “The change came later—and when it came, it was like something that happened to other people, not something that could have happened to us” (Carver). Throughout the dinner, the author parallels Jack and Fran to Bud and Olla. Together, Bud and Olla exhibit characteristics that Jack and Fran’s relationship lacks: love, affection and the family they have created with Joey and Harold. Jack and Fran strive for this type of bond, and although they attempt to achieve it after being given a glimpse at the dinner, they fall short. As much as Jack and Fran want to aspire to be like Bud and Olla, they never reach that next level. They are never able to utilize the peacock feathers. 2. The ending of “A Small, Good Thing” results in Ann, Howard and the baker sitting together, eating and listening to the baker’s life story. Although Ann and Howard come into the bakery with fury, the baker opens up to them because he sees how much they are suffering from the loss of their son, Scotty. Ann is “suddenly hungry” not only because she has physical hunger, but also because she is aching for emotional connection after the loss of her son. The baker may not be able to understand their individual pain, but by revealing his own agony he is allowing Ann and Howard to begin to process their sufferings as well. It didn’t heal them, but his small g... ... middle of paper ... ... of “Cathedral,” it becomes apparent that the narrator’s affection for the blind man has positively shifted as they sit down and begin to draw the cathedral together. After a failed attempt to explain what a cathedral is to the blind man, the narrator is surprised at the encouragement Robert gives. Robert asks the narrator to close his eyes, to ultimately trust him, and the narrator listens. “My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything,” the narrator stated (Carver). This text suggests that the narrator was not necessarily concerned about what he was drawing, but on the feeling he was experiencing during that moment. The narrator is no longer isolated, but open to a new freedom (Esch). This freedom is beyond what is visible – and Robert, the blind man, reiterates this by his presence and lack of sight.
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