Inability to Interact with Others in Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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In Raymond Carver's Cathedral “appear...extreme versions of insularity,from a husband's self-imposed confinement to a living room in 'Preservation' to another's pathetic reluctance to leave an attic garret in 'Careful'” (Meyer). One of Carver's chief goals in cathedral is to criticize people who fail, in one way or another, to communicate with society. In almost every short story, the main character suffers from insularity due to a horrible event in his or her life, alcoholism, or a failure to consider others' thoughts and feelings. The stories, “Careful,” “Preservation,” “Cathedral,” and “The Compartment” easily represent the entire novel's theme of the inability to relate with others. Each of these stories shows a slightly different …show more content…
The actions of Inez after saying, “I found your stash in the bathroom” (Carver 119) support this suggestion. Aside from these initial conclusions, the alcohol seems to be a distraction, a replacement for normal interactions with others. This is similar to the baker's obsession with the bakery in “A Small Good Thing,” or a man's horses in “The Bridle.” Although these things started as things that supplemented everyday life, they soon took over the lives of the respective owners. Carver consistently makes the point that people too often allow themselves to become overwhelmed by things, then “blockade themselves in ways as offensive to others as they are self-destructive” (Meyer).
The hearing loss is a very interesting situation; Lloyd only complains about earwax in one ear, yet he claims that he is unable to hear. While he might have difficulty hearing a few things, Lloyd seems to really be using this as an excuse not to listen to Inez. “She said something but he couldn't make out the words. When she stopped talking, he didn't ask her what it was she'd said” (Carver 118). Professor M. Wilson connects the problem of drinking with the listening problem – and therefore the issue of insularity – as follows:
“Champagne is a kind of wine associated with celebrations, often formal, but rarely with habitual drinking. Looking further into the text, we find many

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