The first short story Cathedral, by Raymond Carver takes place in a middle class home somewhere in New York. It is during a time in the 1970’s where the newest technology was colored television and tape recorders. The husband and wife and Robert all spoke about having switched out their televisions for colored ones. During this time marijuana was commonly smoked and loosely regulated. The story takes place over a single evening. The second short story, First Confession by Frank O’Conner takes place in Ireland during the early 1900’s. Catholicism is the major religion in Ireland, which was taught at a young age. During this time it was a social norm and an expected responsibility to take care of your aging parents. Both short stories take place in different eras, separated by at least fifty years. This being said Cathedral is during a time of television in the United States and First Confession takes place in Europe when televisions had not been invented yet.
The point of view in Cathedral is first person told through a narrator. The main character and also the narrator is not named but he was given a nick name, Bub. The narrator is a scotch drinking, dope smoking, bad boy that makes blind jokes that come across as jealous of his wife’s blind friend. The narrators’ wife is also not named. She has a friendship with a blind man where they share recorded tapes of their lives with one another. Robert, who is a blind friend of the narrators’ wife, is the only character given a name. All three characters are protagonists in the story. The narrator would be considered an antihero as well but due to his revelation at the end he is also labeled a protagonist. The First Confession is also told in first person. The main character who is also the protagonist is a young boy named Jackie who hates his grandmother and sister. He is scared to make his first confession. The antagonist is Nora, Jackies older sister, who got a penny every week from her grandmother. The supporting characters are the grandmother, Ryan the religious education teacher, and the Priest. Comparing both stories to point of view they both are told in first person. Cathedral very limited characters that have no defined label of protagonist, antagonist or supporting character. First Confession has a clear protagonist, antagonist and supporting characters. Both short stories narrators are the main characters.
The Cathedral begins with the telling of a friendship between the narrator’s wife and her friend Robert who is blind. They live in different states so they exchange audiotapes with details of each other’s lives. Robert comes to visit the narrator and his wife where he is greeted with inappropriate sarcasm. The narrator, would is nicknamed Bub, makes rude comments toward Roberts inability to see. During dinner the narrator offers scotch and marijuana to Robert and the three proceed to get drunk and high. After dinner the narrator and Robert are ‘watching’ television Bub asks Robert is he even really knows what a Cathedral looks like. When Robert asks the narrator to describe what a Cathedral looks like he is unable to. Robert suggests drawing one together with Bubs eyes closed. When they were done the narrator kept his eyes closed and describes the drawing as “its really something”. The narrator did not open his eyes because felt that he was inside anything with his eyes closed and he liked the feeling. First Confession is about a young boy named Jackie, whose mother is making him go to confession for the first time. He is scared to go because he hates his grandmother and his sister Nora. His grandmother gave Nora a penny every week leaving Jackie out. Ryan, Jackie’s religious education teacher liked to install fear into young Catholics which propelled Jackie’s fears. When Jackie missed the confession with his class he was ordered to go to confession on Saturday alone. Since Jackie’s mom could not go, Nora was sent along with