Cathedral Theme Essay Introductions

A first glance of Carver’s “Cathedral” gives one the impression that a religious theme is involved in the story. However, this perception is far from the actual content of the story. For instance, no cathedrals are mentioned until in the story’s third section. Even when a cathedral is introduced into the story, it is clear that no single character is actively religious. From this, one can argue that the title does not fit this particular story.

Furthermore, the narrator in Carver’s story uses a conspiratorial tone to present his thoughts and experiences. To the reader, the story appears as if the narrator merely talks to the reader, not to pass any vital message, but rather to keep the reader amused. Additionally, from the narrator’s tone, one gets the feeling that the narrator is attempting to relate certain happenings in terms that are clear as well as precise. In recounting his feelings, the narrator does not get emotional or attempt to persuade the reader to develop a liking for him. A further implication from the narrator’s tone is that the story is about relating the incidents from a particular time, without influencing the reader’s feelings concerning the incidents. However, the reader can detect some sincerity in the narrator’s tone. The narrator does not attempt to hide the desperate situation he is in, nor does he attempt to deceive the reader into thinking that he is highly optimistic about recovering from what befalls him.

Thirdly, Carver’s story has a simple conclusion that leaves the reader highly intrigued. Although the ending is in one way or another predictable, it, nonetheless, gives the reader something to meditate upon long after finishing the story. The reader is left in suspense concerning whether the narrator’s feelings will endure, or whether his and Robert’s relationship will continue after the ending of the story. Furthermore, the reader is left to guess whether there will be significant improvements in the narrator’s bond with his spouse. There is nothing wrong with this suspense, though, since it helps to promote the idea of an intriguing story. The story’s most important theme is to savor the beauty of the moment. In addition to this, other elements in Carver’s story are perfect, such as the plot, setting, and the narrator’s point of view.

Tips on critical essay writing:
Critical essays are very interesting both to read and to write. Specifically, when critiquing the work of another person, it is unacceptable to solely concentrate on the negative aspects of the literary piece. It is impossible that a published work will to adhere to all the desired features of written work.

For this reason, the writer should include a combination of the praiseworthy aspects and the deficient ones when discussing a work. Critical comments must be based on authentic evidence from the literary piece and from other resources as well. The second tip to writing good critical essays is to incorporate one’s own insight or original thoughts so that the reader will find the article interesting.

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Sep 16, 2014

Filed under: Example Papers — Tags: critical essays, english essay — Joan Young @ 8:38 am

You've picked a good topic for this particular story, because the narrator in the short story "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver does experience quite a change of perspective for his character.  To write a good thesis sentence that will help to guide you on your entire paper itself, I might consider filling in the blanks on a sentence similar to the following:  "The narrator in Raymond Carver's 'Cathedral' develops from being _________ to __________ ."  You can try filling in the blanks with simple, one-word ideas, like "blind" to "seeing," (which might present an interesting twist, and you could discuss how the narrator was blind to anyone else but himself and his own perspective, and then, through the help of a blind man, was able to open his eyes and "see" life through a different perspective, which changed him). Or, you can try filling in the blanks with longer phrases like "a bitter, cynical man that found no joy in life" to "a humbled, open-minded man who could see joy in small experiences."

To help track his development throughout the story, list his personality traits that he displays at the beginning of the story, then some that surface in the middle (his patience with Robert, his willingness to sit up with him late into the night, talking, etc.), and then what traits he seems to gain right at the end.  Then, as you write your essay, try to talk about several traits in each category, AND tie them with quotes directly from the story itself to support your assertions.  For example, if you picked that he was a rude man at the beginning, you can use the quote where he found the death of Robert's wife "pathetic" because so little money was left for him.  That's a pretty horribly rude thing to say about a death.  If you do that for all of the traits that you pick, you will be able to get a decent length out of the paper.

I hope that these thoughts can help you to get started on writing.  To summarize the steps:  1.  Fill in the blanks for the thesis statement.  2.  Write down 2 or 3 personality traits for the narrator at the beginning, middle and end of the story, and 3.  Find quotes from the story to support all of those traits.  Then, if you have all of that information, you are good to just piece it together in an essay.  Good luck!


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