April 28, 2011
Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. was born on May 25, 1938 and died on August 2, 1988. Carver was an American short story writer and poet. Carver is considered a major American writer of the late 20th century and also a major force in the revitalization of the short story in the 1980s. Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon, a mill town on the Columbia River, and grew up in Yakima, Washington. His father, a sawmill worker from Arkansas, was a violent alcoholic. Carver's mother worked on and off as a waitress and a retail clerk. His one brother, James Franklin Carver, was born in 1943. He married his first wife Maryann and six months later a daughter was born. A son followed. Carver enrolled at various colleges, where his studies concentrated on creative writing. Aged twenty-two, "The Furious Seasons", his first published story, appeared in college magazine Selection. "The Brass Ring", his first published poem, appeared in 1962, in the little magazine Targets. In his late twenties, Carver filed for bankruptcy. His father died. He also got his first white collar job as a textbook editor. Carver’s story "Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?" appeared in The Best American Short Stories 1967, and a college press published the poems Near Klamath, his first book. Carver continued to move around, move jobs, and get stories and poems published. He began to lecture. He went bankrupt again and was hospitalized with acute alcoholism. In his late thirties, the stories Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? appeared in his first major-press book. Carver stopped drinking. He met Tess Gallagher, and he and Maryann separated. The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters awarded him a fellowship to write full-time. At forty-nine, doctors diagnosed cancer. They removed part of his left lung, but the cancer recurred. He had brain radiation treatment, but cancer reappeared. Ray and Tess married in Reno, on Friday 17 June 1988. He died at home, in Washington State, on 2 August. Many critics, as well as Carver himself, noted that his story, Cathedral, seemed to be moving away from minimalist writing, that it showed a widening of perception and style. In The Architecture of Masculinity in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, Chris Bullock, argues that many of Carvers characters are concerned with issues of masculine identity. Bullock uses the example of the drawing of the cathedral and how it is portraying the masculine ego through the metaphor of architecture. Bullock points out the narrator’s lack of feeling with the relationship with his wife. For example when he points out his wife’s attempt of suicide, an account most likely containing emotion, yet has none. Bullock points out this form of writing as defense against the narrator’s slight feminine side. However, the irony of all this defensiveness is that only emptiness is being defended; the emptiness of the couple’s relationship and of life in the narrator’s living room. Bullock points out the narrator’s isolation and the way the narrator pushes away of relationship with others, as a form of his masculine ego. I found Chris Bullocks critique of Raymond Carver’s Cathedral made some insightful points. Bullock backed up his reason with examples of the narrator’s reactions and feelings. Bullock uses the narrator’s stereotypical ways to illustrate the masculinity. The way the narrator attempts to have masculine control through vision. For example, when his wife’s robe slid open he didn’t even bother to cover her up or when he turned on the television in the living room. Bullock proved his perspective with quotes and metaphors from the story. In The Cathedral Overview, Carol Simpson Stern’s tone makes Raymond Carver works sound depressing and his human nature is bleak. Stern’s interpretation of Carver’s work revolves around characters that work mindlessly, drink, and have broken marriages. The characters usually cannot express themselves...