Hills Like White Elephants And Cathedral Character Analysis

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In the stories, “Hills Like White Elephants” and “Cathedral”, both main characters go through life changing events; however, only one evolves and becomes a more desirable human.
The American, in “Hills Like White Elephants”, displays an egocentric personality, devoid of any character development. Although the Narrator in “Cathedral” shows little to no empathy in the beginning of the story, his mind is opened to new perspectives by the conclusion. Both stories show human personality flaws and weaknesses during times of stress, it is how they respond to these life situations which determines how they are viewed by humanity. The story in, “Hills Like White Elephants” is set in a train station
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I wouldn’t have you do it if you didn’t want to. (331) The reader might be lead to think he is compassionate, allowing the girl a choice. But as the story continues to develop, the American’s self-indulgent attitude is further demonstrated by his remark, “But I know it’s perfectly simple.”
(331) restating his desire to go forward with the operation. At no point in the story does the American show any true and lasting compassion toward the girl or the unborn child. His only concern is for himself and the continuation of his carefree lifestyle. In the end he remains unchanged by the circumstances life threw at him.
However in the story, “Cathedral”, the narrator displays egocentric personality traits in the beginning, but has a change of heart. The narrator shows a lack of kindness for the blind man as he states, “His wife had died…I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew.”(520) The narrator’s limited knowledge about a blind person also colored his perspective, “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind move slowly and never laugh. Sometimes they were led
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That’s right. Now watch it, there’s a chair. That’s it. Sit down right here.
This is the sofa.” He let his biased views help to feed his feelings of apprehension, “A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.” (520) The narrator was uncomfortable with the amount of knowledge the blind man had about their life, “She told him everything, or so it seemed to me.” (521) He did not like, not being the center of his wife’s attention, “I waited in vain to hear my name on my wife’s sweet lips:’ And then my dear husband came into my life’- something like that. But I heard nothing of the sort.” (523)
As the evening progresses both drinking and drugs were indulged, “I got our drinks…then I rolled us two fat numbers…” The drinks and the pot lowered everyone’s inhibitions making the wife sleepy, “I wish my wife hadn’t pooped out.” (524) and the men more open to conversation, “We haven’t had a chance to talk. Know what I mean? I feel like me and her monopolized the evening.”(525) As the men watched TV, the narrator starts showing signs of empathy with the blind man to the point of becoming uncomfortable watching TV, knowing the blind man could not see the program. The narrator, “Then I felt I had to

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