Raymond Carver “Cathedral” Summary | Drawing Spirituality Essay

Published: 2021-07-30 21:05:07
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How can letting go of the natural fear of jealousy be easily managed? Why is politeness and showing great hospitality towards guests so important? Is creativity learned? Criticizing “Cathedral”, using a Freudian microscopic lens, will develop an intriguing thought process over the strength of the unconscious mind over the conscious, which can easily be made tort a breathtaking spiritual read. This in tact, is rare and not easily duplicated in such a theatrical style as Carver successfully portrays.
Another impact on literature is the privilege to learning more about the tutor “going behind the story”. In Carver’s short story, “Cathedral”, there are several pieces of his story, that readers can notice similar to Carver’s life. Raymond Carver (1938-1988) was born in Clandestine, Oregon, a small logging town in the Northwest, just outside of Portland. Carver, like the characters in his contemporary short stories and poems, never worked high-paying jobs and shared a fictional world that was admired by many.
In 1963, Carver had finished with his academics from Humboldt State College in Northern California and also his studies at the university of Iowa. Carvers life was not always easy. After college, Carver went through a divorce and suffered from brief moments Of hardships due to alcoholism. Still, Carver took great passion in teaching several writing courses such as: Lectures on Fiction Writing at University Of California, Berkeley and a Writer’s Workshop at the University of Iowa. In David Lineman’s Newsweek review, Carver’s ‘immense talent” could easily be seen in his publications (Lehman).
The Freudian Theory is not always the easiest to apply to all works of literature. Taking a “step back” to better understand Sigmund Fraud’s workings can be educational and helpful before reading a piece of fictional writing. There are three key components that are representative of Fraud’s psychoanalysis to further criticize and highlight major illustrations developed by an author’s work. The ID, also known as the unconscious, is the biological part of the mind, from which behaviors such as desires, urges, and needs are derived.
This part tooth mind operates off of the pleasure principle, therefore seeking immediate gratification of For example, in Carvers, “Cathedral”, the reader can easily find an illustration of the ID/ unconscious mind when the narrator, his fife, and the narrators wife’s blind friend take part in the smoking of marijuana and the drinking of quite a few drinks of Scotch. When people drink alcohol and smoke marijuana, there can usually be a sensation of the wanting of doing those acts associated With the fulfillment Of their desires, illustrating an easily understood depiction of the ID.
Next is the ego, also recognized as the defenses, Which act as the “mediators between the unconscious and the conscious self, resulting in, self-image, self- confidence, self-esteem, self-importance, and When the narrator in the short story “catches ear about the visit of an old friend of his fife’s whom he has not met, the reader is abruptly informed of the narrator’s unpleasant attitude towards the guest. Robert, the narrator’s wife’s friend, is at the receiving end of the narrators jealousy due to the history his wife and Robert had shared together.
This jealousy was brought on before the narrator and his wife met. In Seattle, shortly after she had left her first husband, due to an unhealthy marriage caused by constant separation and her feeling of loneliness, the wife and Robert had worked together. Though the Witt and Robert developed more than a work relationship on her last day of work, the narrator did not share he same positive feelings as his wife did towards the experience. ‘The blind man asked if he could touch her face. She agreed to this. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of his face, her nose- even her neck!
She even wrote a poem about it. She wrote a poem or two every year, usually after something really important had happened to her (714). Also, this unpleasant attitude was not helped much by their exchange of audiotapes from then on. The reader eventually sees the ego take effect when the narrator sets aside his prejudices and negative attitudes toward Robert When the narrator decides to be civil and how hospitality when welcoming his wife’s blind friend, Robert into their home. The last major component Of the human psyche is the superego, “also identified as the conscious mind or one’s conscience'(Breeze).
The superego encourages suppressive feelings towards the unconscious (ID). The superego is derivative Of culture, values, family, education, and religion. The superego is highlighted toward the end of Carver’s “Cathedral”, toward a strong moment of clarity that strikes the narrator when Robert and he share an unforgettable spiritual experience which truly symbolizes why literature is so important. It helps the reader consider the topics of spirituality, the gracious act of hospitality, having an open mind, and most importantly letting go of harmful prejudices towards others.
All of these inspirational values are contributed to the text when the two are watching a dull “not your run-of-the-mill” late-night television show over cathedrals in several countries. Although the show is depicted as dull in the beginning much more is to result trot Carver’s symbolism to this, which seems to be an easily forgettable show, but eventually becomes the focal point of the story. While watching the ‘TV’ fare”, Robert requests of Carvers narrator, Mat does a cathedral look like? ” The narrator racks his brain, “as if his life depended on it” and cannot reply with much more than a few minor details.
Then Robert politely asks the narrators stance on his beliefs towards his spirituality; the reader realizes from both oftener responses that it is difficult at times “Sometimes it’s harsh You know what I’m saying? ” “Sure, I do,” he said. “Right”, the narrator exclaims” (721-22). Soon after the exchange of religious views Robert comes up with a marvelous idea. He asks the narrator to grab something to rite on. With Robert having the narrator draw with his eyes closed, and having the narrator leading Roberts hand on the brown paper bag canvas, they begin to draw.
The narrator starts with a square, then a triangle on top, followed by Windows, and a few minor details in correlation With the looks Of a cathedral. Robert has the narrator add people, “Put some people in there now. What’s a cathedral Without people” (722)? After the two, the narrator and Robert, draw a cathedral together the narrators epiphany is brought to light; a strong moment of clarity for the narrator and Carver’s “tuned in” audience. ‘Then he aid,” think that’s it. Think you got it,” he said Take a look. What do you think? ” But I had my eyes closed. Thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer.
I thought it was something ought to do. “Well? ‘ he said. “Are you looking? ‘ My eyes were still closed. Was in my house. I knew that. But didn’t feel like was inside anything. It’s really something,” said” (722). Raymond Carver, being a well-renowned contemporary short story writer, whom critics still follow to this day, has had many critical analyses over his short story, “Cathedral”, providing a better understanding of one of Carvers several masterpieces. In Collins Maser’s criticism, “Feeling the Wasteland of Alcoholism: Alienation, Recovery, and Hope”, “Cathedral deems a great level of positivist’ (Messes).
Throughout Maser’s criticism, he emphasizes on getting out of the drunken nightmare of the negative lifestyle of alcoholism, which in fact brings the narrator to a better passage, a passage of positivist, a passage of a higher consciousness. Another critic, Mark Facility, provided a well-written criticism, “The Cathedral: Raymond Carver and The Rediscovery of Human Worth”. Backspin does an amazing job analyzing, in Freudian terms, the ID. Clearly he is jealous, and so emphasizes the eroticism of the blind man’s touch. Much jealousy towards the Wife’s first husband transfers to the blind man Robert.
Thus Robert sexually threatens the narrator, with his blindness, and virtue by being a representative Of the past that is meaningful to his wife” (Facility). An even deeper perspective of the ID is clearly stated in Kirk Nest’s literary criticism, “Insularity and Self-Enlargement. ” “More strikingly in Cathedral than before. Carvers figures seal themselves off from their worlds, walling out the threatening forces in their lives even as they wall themselves in treating destructively into the claustrophobic inner enclosures of self’ (Nesses).
Nest’s criticism, is very insightful, although Carver was illustrating the negative, maybe the not 50 normal, frowned upon acts of heavy drinking and the use of marijuana to make for a breakthrough conclusion. In Carvers last few sentences, without his narrator and Robert taking part in foolery, his narrator more than likely would not have put his prejudice towards the blind and his jealousy “under the rug”. This can be made aware of from the text fairly easily when the narrator nods with Robert; realizing Roberts enthused liking towards a stout glass of scotch.
Carvers ‘Cathedral”, covers the ID quite well in the passage at the dinner table when the dinner table becomes an illustration of all three of the characters’ unconscious desires meet: hunger. The narrator, his wife, and Robert feast at the dinner table as if they were knights at King Urethra’s round table Exhibited in the story the audience witnesses their extreme hunger (the ID) ‘We ate like there was no tomorrow. We didn’t talk. We ate. We scarred. We grazed that table. We were into serious eating. We finished everything including half a strawberry pie. Sweat beaded on our faces.
Finally we got up from the table and left the dirty plates. We didn’t look back” (717). The three were destroying their meal like vultures, seeming to have not had anything in their line Of sight for months, eating like savages. The ID is easily seen when three grown adults with “sweat beading’ from their foreheads, in an indoor kitchen, in an air-conditioned house were Obviously seeking the pleasure principle: that of a full stomach (717). Carver’s use of the ego is highlighted tastefully once again in the short story hen the narrator puts aside his jealousy and terrible prejudice towards the blind man Robert.
When the narrator’s wife and Robert first meet, after all the long years of only having the chance of contact through audiotapes, after all those years of anticipation, the narrator showed his ego immensely. The audience was in terrible fear of how the narrator might upset his wife or even worse treat her guest, Robert, in an ugly, selfish manner but the narrators ego mediates wonderfully between his prejudiced ID and his moral judgment (the superego) when the narrator welcomes Robert with such great hospitality at the rant door.
I’ve heard a lot about you” 6), A nice welcome at the door always is a nice gesture to hospitality. For argument’s sake, during Carver’s short story, maybe the narrators ego was not the strongest towards his wife. The narrator did not show the greatest showmanship of self-worth while his wife Vass still walking Robert into their home. “My wife finally took her eyes off the blind man and looked at me. I had the feeling she didn’t like what she saw. I shrugged” (716).
Not only does the wife, including the audience, see bad judgment displayed by the narrator, the narrator myself is in full acknowledgement Of his unsatisfactory attitude during the situation at hand. On a regular basis, applying the Freudian theory to literature Fletcher illustrates, a reminder or encouragement of what society should value or take action upon, to make society consider an unfamiliar topic. What is the most important part of taking a deeper look at the conscience in Carver’s short story, “Cathedral”?
The Freudian theory when emphasized and applied in a positive context proposes great ideas; advocating positive support of education, values, and religion. The audience, along with the characters of Carver’s story, truly realizes the importance of the greatness that can result from sharing another’s company, reaching a meaningful level of consciousness. Not everyone is granted the same open-mindedness the narrator is afforded by Carver. Many who have their own different egos do not have the luxury to mediating and processing experiences in a way such as the narrator does.
Audiences do not always have the pleasure to witness a narrators revelation or insight as significant as the narrator in “Cathedral”, a narrator 50 shut off from the true realization of how he was living a hallow, meaningless life repeating the same dull tedious routine of negativity, rudeness, and minimal values. Furthermore, put into the light of a Freudian Psychoanalytical spotlight much is illuminated of Carver’s narrator’s psyche Ultimately, the true importance of literature is not only just a short break of landing into someone else’s imagination but sometimes for the reader to look into his/her own.
The author’s audience looking at literature through Fraud’s eye -glasses should have had the pleasure of learning. The functions Of the biological basic drives derived room behaviors can bring several ideas of the unconscious mind to awareness. Learning more about the ego and the many defenses that the ego is capable of can be used as a tool in everyday life for an individual to become more confident and more respectful Of one’s self.

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