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Fard Aldous Huxley Aldous Huxley • English writer • 1894-1963 • Best known for his novels, poetry, essays, philosophy, and travel writing • a humanist and pacifist • in some academic circles, a leader of modern thought and an intellectual of the highest rank Major works Novels: • Brave New World • Eyeless In Gaza • Point Counter Point Travel Writing: Beyond the Mexique Bay Essays: Gray Eminence Questions • 1. Is it the first time Monsieur and Madame quarrel? • 2. What kind of life has Sophie been living? Is she in good health? • 3. How does Madame look like? • 4. For what reason do the couple quarrel? • 5. How does Madame treat Sophie? • 6. What is the symbolic meaning of the title? Characters Monsieur •wealthy but not good-looking •romantic but blind in choosing life partner •educated but emotional (losing his temper) Characters Sophie •old and disagreeable •obedient •oppressed and miserable Characters Madame •Good-looking & Self-centered •Vanity-admiring/ Hypocritical •Oppressive •Idle /Lazy •Cruel themes • Falseness & Vanity • Oppression & exploitation New Words • Indignant angry • Ominous foreshadowing evil • Squabble argue over petty things • Heed pay close attention to • Amorous inclined toward or displaying love • Enervated lacking strength or vigor • Grotesque abnormal and hideous New Words • Grimace a contorted facial expression • Wobble move sideways or in an unsteady way • Dodder walk unsteadily • Shudder tremble as from fear or excitement • Aggrieved cause to feel sorrow, annoyed • Marquis nobleman Cathedral Raymond Carver author • American short-story writer and poet • 1938-1988 • PUT YOURSELF IN MY SHOES (1974), first collection of short stories • WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? (1976), established his reputation and introduced his central themes Style • the quiet desperation of the white- and blue- collar workers, salesmen, waitresses, and their sense of betrayal and unableness to express themselves. • Things are frequently left unspoken and conflicts unresolved, and the meaning of the story is only revealed through implications. • often placed in the realistic tradition of Stephen Crane and Ernest Hemingway and its post-modern version, called minimalism(简约派）. Questions 1. Try to describe the relation among “me”, “my”wife, Robert and the officer. 2. Try to show your idea about Robert and his wife after you read their story in Para 4, P10. What is “my” feeling after I knew that? 3. What is the symbolic meaning of “Cathedral” as the topic? Plot Summary • The story’s narrator informs the readers that a friend of his wife’s, a man who happens to be blind, is on his way to visit. The narrator is not enthusiastic about the visit because blind people make the narrator uncomfortable, mainly because the narrator has no real experience with the blind. • In addition to his uneasiness with the blind, the narrator is uncomfortable with his wife’s relationship with the blind man. The wife and Robert, the blind man, have maintained a close relationship via tape recordings mailed back and forth, and the narrator finds this unsettling. Despite the narrator’s feelings about the visit, Robert shows up, and the three of them dine together, and Robert and the narrator get to know each other. Characters The Narrator • The unnamed narrator of the story is insecure, close- minded, and lacks communication skills at the beginning of the story. • jealous of his wife's friendship with the blind man. • He is unhappy in his work and isolated from others. According to his wife, he has no friends. Characters Robert •the blind man, a long-time friend of the narrator’s wife. •maintained a close relationship with the narrator’s wife •patient, kind man •well-traveled and well-educated •pleasant and outgoing Characters The Wife The narrator’s wife, who is also unnamed, plays a secondary role in the action of the story, since she falls asleep while her husband and Robert talk. Readers are given some of the wife’s background, learning that she was married before, has attempted suicide, and has trouble communicating with her husband. Theme • Ignorance through the first person narrator’s journey from insecurity to openness. The narrator begins as close-minded and fearful of what he does not understand; as the story progresses, he begins to have his eyes opened, ironically with the help of a blind man. • alienation and loneliness • The Difference between Looking and Seeing Symbols • The cathedral that the narrator draws with Robert represents true sight, the ability to see beyond the surface to the true meaning that lies within. Before the narrator draws the cathedral, his world is simple: he can see, and Robert cannot. But when he attempts to describe the cathedral that’s shown on television, he realizes he doesn’t have the words to do so. More important, he decides that the reason he can’t find those words is that the cathedral has no meaning for him and tells Robert that he doesn’t believe in anything. However, when he takes the time to draw the cathedral—to really think about it and see it in his mind’s eye—he finds himself pulled in, adding details and people to make the picture complete and even drawing some of it with his eyes closed. When the drawing is finished, the narrator keeps his eyes shut, yet what he sees is greater than anything he’s ever seen with his eyes open. • Carver isn’t specific about exactly what the narrator realizes, but the narrator says he “didn’t feel like he was inside anything”—he has a weightless, placeless feeling that suggests he’s reached an epiphany. Just as a cathedral offers a place for the religious to worship and find solace, the narrator’s drawing of a cathedral has opened a door for him into a deeper place in his own world, where he can see beyond what is immediately visible. Audiotapes • The audiotapes that Robert and the narrator’s wife send back and forth to each other represent the kind of understanding and empathy that has nothing to do with sight. The narrator believes that Robert’s wife, Beulah, must have suffered because Robert could never see her, but in his own way, the narrator has never truly seen his own wife. Robert’s relationship with the narrator’s wife is much deeper than anything the narrator can understand. When he hears a bit of Robert’s tape, he says it sounds only like “harmless chitchat,” not realizing that this sort of intimate communication is exactly what his own marriage lacks. Only when the narrator closes his eyes to finish drawing the cathedral does he approach the level of understanding that his wife and Robert have achieved through their taped correspondence. • "Cathedral," like many of Carver's other stories, portrays individuals isolated from each other for a variety of reasons. • The narrator drinks too much and seems unable to adequately communicate with his wife. The wife has earlier tried to commit suicide because of loneliness. Only the blind man, Robert, seems able to form lasting human connections. Unlike Carver's other stories, however, "Cathedral" ends with hope; although there is no proof that the narrator will overcome his isolation, for the moment, he is in communion with himself and another human being. Symbolic Meaning • At the end of “Cathedral,” the narrator has a life-changing moment, or an epiphany, while trying to tell Robert what a cathedral looks like. The narrator, when first trying to explain what the cathedral looks like, struggles for the words. However, upon Robert’s encouragement, loosens up, and draws the cathedral with Robert, guiding his hand with a pencil onto paper. • This is a close personal connection and intimate moment of communication for the narrator, and it impacts him greatly. The narrator is able to connect with Robert, and this is the moment where the narrator can put aside his insecurities and actually interact with someone else. It changes the narrator; he says, “It was like nothing else in my life up to now” (Carver 108). • Throughout Cathedral, the boundaries the narrator has placed on his interaction and communication with others are eroded by Robert’s patient persistence in getting to know him. As a result, the narrator confronts his own insecurities and misconceptions, not just about Robert and the blind, but also about his own ability to interact with others.
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