Life/Place and Raymond Carver

It’s time to turn in your Life Place Essays. In keeping with irresponsible traditions, I’ll go ahead and have you turn in your papers outside my office on Monday. Please don’t forget to include: the paper, a reflective letter to me (don’t forget the letter! I love the letters!) and your workshopping questions. No need for any pre drafting materials this time around.

Over the weekend I’d like you to also read the short story I handed out in class by Raymond Carver called “Cathedral.” (If you weren’t in class, I will leave extra copies of the story in my mailbox in the English Department office, LA136. It’s on the first floor near our classroom.) There’s a bonus story connected on the back that you can read or not, up to you. I want you to do a blog post based on the reading where you answer one of these questions:

1. Talk about the narrator character. Is he sympathetic to you? Why or why not? How does the narrator change from the beginning of the story to the end?
2. What’s the deal with the narrator’s wife? Why do you think the author chose to include all the details about her ex husband? Does the narrator have a reason to be jealous? Why or why not?
3. Is there some sort of metaphor going on here regarding blindness? What do you have to say about this? Do you like the effect or not? Did you find the progression of the story predictable in this way?
4. What did you think of Carver’s sparse writing style? Did you find it easy to read, annoying, ugly, pretty, etc? How might you utilize what he does in your own writing?
5. Finally, if you’d rather not answer any of these questions, you can choose instead to write a Raymond Carver imitation story. Try not to make it too long, just a few paragraphs. A Raymond Carver story will almost always include the following: domestic tension. Alcohol or drugs. Sparse language. Mean, angry, or otherwise dissatisfied people.

Get this post up by Wednesday before class and we’ll talk about the story and stuff!

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