Raymond Carver is an award winning short story writer and poet. Carver’s famous writing career started with publishing a collection of poems. During his career as a writer he also published some famous short stories which helped define Carver as a minimalist writer. A minimalist writer makes “do with less, the literary equivalent of functionalist architecture. It offers an art of elimination, an effort one can associate with creating boundaries around private pain and avoiding public high mindedness” (SJC-46) said Paul Skenazy. Raymond Carver’s did not like that he was associated with the term “minimalist” he felt that the term “smacks of smallness of vision and execution” (SJC-3). In a few of his famous works like the “Cathedral”, “A Small Good Thing”, and “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” one can see many striking parallels within the three amazing short stories. The major similarities are the development of the characters and the interpersonal relationships between them. The use of alcohol within the story and the symbolism that the alcohol brought to the stories. The tragedy of death throughout the main ideas of the story. Finally, the powerful endings that each story has that leaves the reader amazed by his literary style of writing. First, Raymond Carver’s unique style of writing uses characters that “work for a living” (SJC-48) said Arthur Saltzman. His characters have an intense interpersonal relationship and are intertwined in emotional conflict. In the short story “Cathedral” which is about the interpersonal relationships between three people. At first the narrator or husband is not happy about the blind man visiting his him. Also, he is not happy about the relationship between the houseguest Robert and his wife. During this short story a reader can see how the husband grows through the visit and develops a friendship with the blind man and helps him deal with his loneliness, isolation and lack of communication. The three main characters in this short story the husband, wife, and Robert the visiting blind man, each character has a unique characteristic. The husband is insecure about the relationship between his wife and Robert. Also, he his insensitive because he stated “A blind man in my house was not something I was looking forward to” (SJC-4). The husband was out of touch because what he knew about the blind came from movies. The wife was a kind, sensitive person who had a close lasting friendship with Robert. She is a giving, kind person and happy to have a visitor. This is noticeable several times in the story from the wonderful dinner and dessert she served to making sure he felt at home and he knew his bed was ready once he was ready to go to bed for the night. “Robert is the hero of the story a man how had not let his blindness impair his quality of life” (2). Robert is an open minded, laid back character who brings a unique perspective to the story. He has the husband draw a Cathedral with him. “This was the powerful ending of the story when Robert said “So we kept up with it. His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up till now” (SJC-15). Ultimately the story ends with a powerful meaning of hope and the narrator finds himself connecting with himself and with other human beings. This occurred because once he started drawing the Cathedral it opened up communication and human connections. In “A Small Good Thing” the story parallels to carvers other works because of the interpersonal relationships also deals with a real life hardship. In this story the husband and wife are faced with the accidental death of their eight year old son. The overwhelming grief the parents face and the unexpected relationship with the baker who was baking a birthday cake for Scotty their son is an emotional insight into human passion. In this short story the main characters each have a unique perspective on the hardship that is given to them. The...
Cited: 1. Kennedy, X.J., and Dana Gioia. Literature an Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ninth ed. New York: Pearson Education, 2005.
Carver, Raymond. A Small Good Thing. 16-33.
Carver, Raymond. Cathedral. 4-15.
Carver, Raymond. Raymond Carver. 3
Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. 34-43.
Saltzman, Arthur. Carver’s Characterization. 48
Skenazy, Paul. Carver and Minimalism. 46.
2. Esch., J. "Notes on Raymond Carver’S “Cathedral”." 14 Feb. 2008. 5 July 2008 .
3. "Raymond Carver (1938-1988)." 5 July 2008 .
4. Jones, Paul. "Raymond Carver (1938-1988)." 6 July 2008 .
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