'Cathedral' And 'A Clean And Well Lighted Place'

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade November 2001

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One of the greatest authors of American literature is Ernest Hemingway. During his life, he was passionate about war. He liked the stress and excitement of the war, and late in his life, he suffered from injuries, depression and paranoia, and finally ended up killing himself. Another great author of American literature is Raymond Carver. Raymond Carver also lived a difficult life; he was alcoholic, was divorced, and suffered from cancer in his late years. Nonetheless, he kept writing until the last day of his life. Although both lived difficult and troubled lives, their works clearly indicate different perspectives on the value of faith and the nature of human existence. In "˜Cathedral', through the changes that the main character experiences during his meeting with a blind man, Carver shows that someone can completely change his perspective on the world and on the life when he meets the right person; however, Hemingway uses his main character's pessimism to transmit the message that we are all ultimately alone and that even if someone wants to change, no one is there to help him.

Raymond Carver doesn't give any distinctive characteristics to his main character in his short story, "˜Cathedral'. It shows that this main character could represent anyone in our society, and it also means that this character lives an insignificant and uninteresting life. He lives in a suburb in the United States, he doesn't like unstable situations, and furthermore, he has no friends to share his feelings or his worldviews. ""¦[B]ut if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I'd make him feel comfortable." (Carver 219). Therefore, he spends most of his time watching TV, and builds his worldviews with what he sees on the TV and in the movies. Consequently, he has a...