Cathedral

Epiphanies of ‘Ugly’ Mrs. Turpin and the ‘Blind’ Narrator College

Both Mrs. Turpin in Flannery O’Conner’s Revelation and the narrator in Raymond Craver’s Cathedral hold prejudiced worldviews. However, Mrs. Turpin is religious and expresses her self-satisfied thoughts openly, while the narrator dismisses others because he does not believe in anything. Both characters need to be saved by epiphanies, yet their distinct natures shape how each character experiences the epiphany.

Mrs. Turpin judges people by stereotypes of class, race, and disposition in order to raise her self-satisfaction. As soon as she enters the waiting room, she immediately categorizes others based on their appearances: the “well-dressed lady” (150) is the ‘pleasant lady’, the “lank-faced woman” (150) is the ‘white-trashy mother’, and the girl with a face “blue with acne” (150) is the ‘ugly girl’. In fact, Mrs. Turpin is so obsessed with these stereotypical classifications that “sometimes Mrs. Turpin occupied herself at night naming the classes of people. On the bottom of the heap were most colored people...then next to them...were the white-trash; then above them were the home-owners, and above them the home-and-land owners, to which she and Claud belonged”(151). Mrs. Turpin uses these stereotypes to justify her condescending...

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