How does the end of the story relate to the rest of the story?

Question Prompts
* Please note: you are not required to answer all of these questions. Choose something from below – either a whole question or a part of one – that you feel capable of responding to. Use these questions as starting places to create your own substantive response that adheres to the critical focus and textual spirit of the discussion forum.

Using Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” as your source text, try out some of the theoretical principals you’re learning in your study of New Criticism from Texts and Contexts and the other theory and short story resources I’ve placed in the unit.

Is “Cathedral” a “perfect, organic whole” in terms of how Carver has composed the story? If you think it is, in what way? If it isn’t, why not? Is the story filled with tensions and ambiguities (of speaker, tone, point of view, or metaphor) that mysteriously resolve into a unified whole by the end? Is the ending sufficiently ironic to qualify as a successful ending in terms of what New Criticism is looking for in a story ending? That is, does the ironic ending (if it’s there) in “Cathedral” serve to illuminate a transcendent truth only evident in the closing moments of the work? How does the end of the story relate to the rest of the story? What literary elements does Carver lean on most heavily to make his story work for us?

Look again at the vocabulary terms at the end of Chapter 3 in Texts and Contexts to help you with this discussion response.

In your response work, reference specific passages (through correctly page-cited direct quotes or paraphrases) to help you address these questions and illustrate your responses, and always be specific and thorough in your reasoning and argument.