Professor Jack Swanson
10 March 2015
Cathedral and The Story of an Hour Compare and Contrast The two stories that will be discussed thoroughly will be based upon the similar characteristics between each important character from both stories. The author of the first short story is Raymond Carver and the story is called “Cathedral.” The character in this story will be the narrator himself, who also plays the husband in the story. The second character is Mrs. Louise Mallard from the short story, “Story of an Hour,” authored by Kate Chopin. The similarities between both the characters are based on their marriage towards the opposite spouse and how they feel about particular situations that they are handed with. The theme for this paper is towards sustaining a troublesome marriage between spouses and overcoming any obstacle that interferes in the way of the marriage. While reading “Cathedral,” the narrator shows his fearfulness by becoming jealous to a great extent. The reason why jealousy is brought up in the big picture is because fear induces a jealousy response. Feared in a sense that his wife’s loyalty and integrity will wither away, while associating herself with an old friend that she made a decade ago, who is named Robert. The narrator is fearful because he is treating his marriage towards his wife as great importance, he feels threatened by Robert. However, Robert has no physical sight whatsoever and has lost his wife in the current process. The narrator shows his jealousy in multiple ways such as, being frustrated when the blind man and the narrators wife would talk in the room for a great amount of time and the wife not mentioning anything good about the husband; therefore the act of jealousy came in and the narrator says some harsh words about him such as, Robert’s blindness bothered the narrator because to him the definition of blindness was not in a realistic setting. He thought of it as people not portraying their positive attitude and not finding humor in things, and always having a watchdog; He was not pleased by his visit. (106)
In “Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard portrayed her fear by conforming herself as a woman that lives in society by taking part in her role as a female stereotype. A long established stereotype that females are considered to be the feeblest sex in society, but as soon as her husband had passed, the realization that as a woman she was once known as someone who was weak and then quickly transitioned into a person with awareness and a newfound sense of individuality as a female. The emerging emotion of confidence after her loss gave her the power of independence rather than being stuck in fear of living a long life filled with dependence towards her husband the sudden change diminished her fear. The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. “They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses bear fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (550). Her fear that was in her eyes had escaped into the unknown, revealing a brightness that defined her newfound self. Her heart is fragile, and any given stress can result in a serious problem, but in this case, she is in a state of relaxation because of the situation that fate has given her. The narrator feels trapped in the most inner part of his own mind because of his struggle with his marriage that he is trying to mend, and his job as well. In order to fill the void that consumes his life, he drinks scotch heavily and smokes pot. With that sense, he uses drugs as a source of escape to achieve his personal freedom towards his unhappy life. He drinks in situations when his emotions get the best of him. The feeling of his isolation is correlated towards how he views the world in his eyes compared to what Roberts sees with his eyes. The narrator realizes that he has been caved inside his personal understanding of the universe, that he was ignorant in understanding Roberts.