The Rich Brother and Cathedral Thesis Paper
LCS 121 Section H 9/28/14
“The Rich Brother” by Tobias Wolf, tells a story of two brothers with very different lifestyles and perspectives on the world. The main character Pete is a very successful real estate agent in Santa Cruz who tends to get caught up in the materialistic things in life. He always wants his image to appear superior to others, from the house, to the car, to the clothes and he seems to look down upon on those who are not as successful as him. His brother Donald is the exact opposite of Pete and is seen as a loser in his eyes. Donald has no money to his name and drifts from place to place. “The Cathedral” by Raymond Carver tells the story of the interactions between a blind man and a married couple. He has known the woman for quite some time but has never met the husband until he travels to their home. The focus of the story is on the husband who acts as the narrator and is very arrogant, rude and closed-minded. He is very judgmental and lacks the insight to understand people’s thoughts and feelings. In both these short stories it is seen that Pete and the narrator are similar in that they are both caught up in narrow-minded thinking, however, towards the end of the stories it is shown that the narrator under goes a transformation and Pete does not. The narrator and Pete both view the world in outward appearance and conformity to cultural norms. Pete places a high emphasis on success, which to him is strictly defined by the amount of money a person has and where they stand on the social ladder. Pete’s ultimate ambition is to fit in following the example of his parents, “They managed to be decent people without making fools of themselves” (Wolff 654). His view of a decent person was someone who was well off financially as evidence by his statement to Donald “Grow up…Get a Mercedes” (Wolff 656). He views Donald as a failure because he lives a different lifestyle and is not nearly as...
Cited: Carver, Raymond. "The Cathedral." Cathedral: Stories. New York: Knopf, 1983. N. pag. Print.
Wolff, Tobias. "The Rich Brother." Our Story Begins. London: Bloomsbury, 2009. N. pag. Print.
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