Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Many of the cathedrals of Europe took hundreds of years to build. Historians of architecture and culture have marveled at these wonders, noting that they are best understood as monuments to people who find value and meaning in doing. At first blush, it would seem that the world of the makers of Europe 's great cathedrals could not be further removed from the world of working class people in Raymond Carver 's fiction. But a more leisurely reflection upon the cathedral builders and the characters in the title story of Carver 's collection Cathedral opens the possibility that some of the late stories of Carver offer a promise of resurrection which he usually so brutally denies. At one level, the postmodern world in Carver 's fiction is understood as one in which the mechanical age of…show more content…
This interpretation of postmodernity accounts for much of the experience charted by Carver. His stories are about people who work mindlessly, drink, have broken marriages, and take in life, not directly, but through an immersion in mediated images, be they received visually through the T.V. screen, or aurally through listening to mediated messages reported on T.V., or transmitted through popular culture, most frequently in the lyrics of songwriters. The American playwright Eugene O 'Neill created language to capture the lyrical stammering of the fog people in his famous play, "A Long Day 's Journey into Night." Carver 's alcoholics lack even the eloquence of O 'Neill 's fog people. They are often crude and utterly lacking in the powers of introspection. They cannot express what they mean but they want to tell stories. Very often they quite literally have nothing to do: they are out of work or about to be fired. They know they once had hopes and ideas about the kind of people they should be and how they should live their lives (having a job, wife, and maybe children), but they do not know how to connect the everyday
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