17 February 2013
Point of View in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and John Updike’s “A&P” Point of view and narration are effective aspects of story telling; they give the audience insight to the character’s development throughout the story. In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and John Updike’s “A&P” first-person narration is used to describe to different experiences; both share an epiphany at the end of each story. The epiphanies in each story, although different, are more profound since they are told in first-person.
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” the narrator is unenthusiastic about a blind man visiting his house, when he discusses blind stereotypes, he states, “He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (Carver 33). Carver presents these claims in a first-person narration so that the reader gets a good image of the narrators character. The reader can infer that the narrator is apprehensive toward the blind man and seems generally closed minded. This inference of a generally close-minded narrator is important to the epiphany that occurs later in the story by it emphasizing how much the narrator develops from beginning of the story to the end by relaying a personal account.
As Carver’s “Cathedral” progresses, the use of first-person narration becomes more evidently headed for an epiphany, when the narrator declares that cathedrals are meaningless, stating that, “[T]he truth is, cathedrals don’t mean anything special to me. Nothing. Cathedrals. They’re something to look at on late-night TV. That’s all they are”(Carver 41). His confession demonstrates to the reader that the narrator is trying to begin to understand what the blind man sees, but isn’t quite sure what there is to see in...