"The Cathedral" by Raymond Carver is full of both imagery and symbolism.

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Contrasting Imagery with Symbolism

The story The Cathedral by Raymond Carver is a story of transformation of a human character's life from depression and carelessness to belief and diversity. A cathedral is a symbol of faith, conversion, creativity and strength and is therefore a substantial component of Carver's story. The process of drawing it becomes the climax of the story when the author uses intense imagery to describe the workings of the drawing that the husband is creating. Imagery and symbolism are greatly used in this story, but in very different ways to provide very different effects. Moreover, the cathedral is connected to the representation of the blind man as a preacher and a teacher. The symbolism of the cathedral in the story makes one believe in the future and optimism.

A cathedral symbolizes religion, and the TV show that the two men watch leads to an important question. The blind man asks the husband to describe to him the image of a cathedral. The husband is unable to successfully compose an accurate description because he doesn't understand the meaning and the symbolism of the building. He is not a man of religion, and he is watching the show only because he has nothing else to do. "Don't ask me why this is,"(245) he says. Compelled to think about the purpose of cathedrals, the narrator begins to realize that they symbolize the struggle that people endeavored to build those structures. What would make people do such a thing? Belief and religion sometimes give direction and meaning to peoples' lives. The effort required to build a cathedral becomes an outburst of creativity. The inability of the husband to understand the purpose of cathedrals shows that he lacks creativity, and his life is meaningless and not fulfilling.

By making the husband draw a cathedral together with him, the blind man teaches him about the importance of the cathedrals and the significance of believing in something. The husband experiences something that he has...
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