Professor Macklin Cowart
10 September 2014
“Cathedral”: The Importance of Transformation in the Characters In “Cathedral,” Raymond Carver drastically creates changes within his characters that bring them closer together throughout each experience. The pertaining metamorphoses begin by being utilized as simple icebreakers but eventually commence an everlasting bond between the narrator and the blind man, Robert. Character development is important because it allows for a sense of realism and the successful creation of a theme of character transformation. The first example of transformation readers see in “Cathedral” is when Robert takes his first drink. All of the characters in the story begin with a sober mind. Prior to meeting Robert, the narrator has a drink. At the very beginning of Robert and the narrator’s exchange, the characters launch their social hour with cocktails. “Let me get you a drink. What’s your pleasure? We have a little of everything. It’s one of our pastimes” (39). It is believed that the reason for the excess of drinking throughout the story is to ease the social anxiety that the narrator feels towards the blind man. According the Fairbairn and Sayette, conventional wisdom and survey data indicate that alcohol is a social lubricant and is consumed for its social effects (1361). The importance of this transformation is that Robert and the narrator begin to bond. The blind man becomes relatable because he also drinks scotch and smokes the marijuana that is offered. In addition to social drinking causing a transformation, readers discover a transition from hungry to full. The characters not only begin to connect through consuming alcohol, but also through sharing a meal together. The narrator states, “We dug in. We ate everything there was to eat on the table. We ate like there was no tomorrow. We didn’t talk. We ate. We scarfed” (Carver 39). This dining experience when the narrator begins to admire the blind...
Cited: Carver, James. “Cathedral.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. Kelly J. Mays. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2014. 34-46. Print.
Fairbairn, Catherine., and Michael A. Sayette. “A Social-Attribution Analysis of Alcohol Response”. Psychological Bulletin 140.5 (2014): 1361-1382. psycARTICLES. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.
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