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The Cause Of Conflict In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Conflict is the essence of any literary fiction. The main goal of an author is to tell a story that keeps the reader interested. At the story’s core, conflict is the momentum of happening and change and is crucial on all levels for delivering information and building characterization as well as building the story itself. Conflict is the source of change that engages a reader and keeps them interested. In a story, conflict and action does what description and telling of feelings and situations do not. Narrated in the first person, Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is bound to unfold due to the thoughts and feelings of one of the main characters, the husband. Expectedly, the conflict revolves around him and the way he responds to the conflict leads…show more content…
The story revolves around three characters, a husband who is also referred to as Bub, his wife, and a blind man, Robert. The story begins with the wife reminiscing back at the times that she shared with Robert. She continues to talk about how much she enjoyed spending time with him. She talks about how she has kept in touch with him and how she has even written about Robert before. Even though the narrator doesn’t directly state to his wife, he happens to be “irritated” (Facknitz) by the fact his wife tends to have a connection with Robert. One of the biggest issues in the story that “fuels the narrator’s jealousy” (Cathedral) is the fact Robert had touched her face. Carver writes “So okay. I’m saying at the end of the summer she let the blind man run his hands over her face” (Carver 78). The way this sentenced is written makes it seem like the narrator is in some sort of disbelief that his wife let another man touch her face. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal however since the man is blind, him be able to touch her face is in a way intimate. Also, the narrator continues to bring up the fact they still continued to keep in touch after so many years. While the narrator is telling the story, he makes statements such as “But they’d keep in touch, she and the…show more content…
However, the story unwinds when Bub and Robert seem to have created some sort of bond. After hours of talking through the night the narrator happens to find out Robert isn’t as bad as he thought. He realizes Robert is just another man and poses no threat to him or his relationship with his wife. The two men stay up for hours talking about all sorts of things. Towards the end of the night the two men share a moment that ends the story well. Robert asks about the narrator’s religion which brings them to the topic of Cathedrals. Since Robert is blind he doesn’t know exactly what a Cathedral is and only can picture a normal building and what he thinks it might be like. As they continue to talk, Robert asks for some paper and a pen. Robert takes Bub’s hand and tells him to draw a Cathedral. Robert continues to cheer Bub on and continue drawing. Robert then asks him to close his eyes and continue to draw this way. After the drawing is complete Bub keeps his eyes closed and this leads us to believe his is finally at peace with Robert being there. Bub states, “But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer.” (Carver 87). With this statement, Bub insists keeping his eyes closed and he seems to feel
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