Raymond Carver's Cathedral of Irony College

Raymond Carver’s preferred method of delivering information to readers in his short story “Cathedral” is one that is entirely coherent with the underlying theme of the impact of alienation and isolation upon those who fail to master the art of communicating with others. Carver employs a technique of storytelling in which everything that can be learned about the other characters is filtered through the perspective of a narrator who is less than fully articulate. Ultimately, “Cathedral” is the story of a man who has difficulty connecting with other people because he lacks sophisticated communication skills which is told by a man with such limited communication skills that the reader is forced is to piece together necessary information that the narrator has left out because the story is being related by a storyteller whose very inarticulateness is the driving force behind his transformation.

The story contains a certain level of irony in that it is sometimes difficult to figure out what is going on even though the narrator uses plain language and an unsophisticated vocabulary. Carver seems to be suggesting something about the power of words here to effectively communicate thoughts. Many people assume that a story is more difficult...

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