The Role of Casual Narration in Cathedral
In Raymond Carver’s Cathedral the narrator’s casual way of telling the story helps the reader be more engaged and interested in the story. It pulls you into the story and makes you care deeply about the characters in it and what happens to them.
The use of casual narration in Cathedral is evident when you look at line lengths. The narrator often uses sentences of few words like “So okay” (Carver, 22), “She threw up” (22) and “Just amazing” (24). When the narrator writes sentences like these it’s almost as if he’s speaking directly to the reader which helps the reader care about the story more because they’re not just reading some story about a disconnected narrator. On the contrary, this way the reader builds a connection with the narrator and in turn cares more about the outcome of the story.
Another example of the story’s casual narration is the many candid admissions the narrator makes. When he’s telling the story of how his wife attempted to commit suicide, he stops for a second and writes “Her officer---why should he have a name? he was the childhood sweetheart, and what more does he want?---came home from somewhere, found her, and called the ambulance” (22). By doing this he lets us know how jealous he is and that his contempt towards him is immense. We get a closer look into his mind, his thoughts towards this ex-husband of his wife’s and by doing this he’s also telling us how much he loves her and that maybe some of his dislike for the officer is transferred to Robert because he’s another important man in his wife’s life.
There are also moments when he shows a devil-may-care attitude when he talks about Robert’s past and we get the feeling that he doesn’t much care for it. He writes “It was a little wedding---who’d want to go to such a wedding in the first place?---just the two of them, plus the minister and the minister’s wife” (23). He also writes “Right then my wife filled me in with more detail than I...