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Short Stories "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver and "Araby" by James Joyce

There are remarkable similarities and differences  in the way authors of the stories Cathedral by Raymond Carver and Araby by James Joyce discussed various issues and themes. Raymond Carver’s story Cathedral is a clear depiction of how relationships with outsiders can threaten a close-knit marriage and make it insecure. In its turn, Alby captures the experiences of a naive young boy, as he tries to balance between  his  dreams and  real life.

In Cathedral close outside relationship has a potential threat of providing communication barriers and creating a scenario where there is an invasion of privacy. The story foregrounds issues that face modern families and married couples. It is clear from the story that marriage is not an easy undertaking. It is faced with a plethora of hiccups that threaten to tear up the relationship.

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The story is clear in highlighting the fact that in human relationships, conflicts are inevitable. Since human beings, especially those who are committed in relationships, originate from different backgrounds, they tend to differ tremendously. The authors in the two stories Cathedral and Araby promote the idea that individuals should always be willing to sit down and resolve their disagreements before they degenerate to a critical level. The husband in the story Cathedral is made to focus on the cathedral through the eyes of the blind man who is one of the characters. The story captures the plight of two men, who come together to share a common vision.

The husband, who is the protagonist, has a negative personality. He is narrow-minded and jealous of his wife for her association with Robert, a blind man. The husband is uncomfortable with the frequency of the blind man’s visits to their house, and he complains about him frequently. The close relationship between the wife and Robert causes conflicts in the family, as the husband feels insecure about Robert’s presence between him and his wife. However, the connection between the wife and Robert, which lasts for more than ten years, is an objective relationship that is intended to appreciate disabled people in the society. The two have exchanged countless tapes that capture their experiences. The author exposes the stigma which handicapped people usually carry in their day–to-day interaction with other people. The husband discriminates Robert and stresses on his disability. He fails to understand and treat Robert as a person with his own ideas and thoughts.

The short story Araby, written by James Joyce and published in the year 1914, captures the experiences of a naive young boy. It is a convincing story that represents the story of an observant and impressionable young boy, who is the protagonist of the story. The author uses a plethora of language styles and a myriad of themes to bring out the feelings and experiences of the protagonist.

The story highlights conflicts that are prevalent in the society. The main conflict of the story is where Paul’s romantic notions and illusions are contrasted with the reality of his daily life. The author brings to the foreground the uncertainty and conflicts existing in the personality of an individual between what a character believes in and the real experiences he has in life. The protagonist accumulates and builds so much on every occasion. The various experiences he undergoes at the end of the story are more profound, because he focused all his dreams on a character he knew little about.

The two stories Cathedral and Araby are similar in how they treat the theme of love. The stories appropriately highlight the loss of innocence and the frustrations that come with love. The young boy in Araby, just like the husband in the short story Cathedral, has a lot of expectations about the emotional state and unparalleled commitment to the one he loves. The boy experiences disappointing circumstances in his journey. His expectations about life are unrealistic and idealized. Just like the husband in Cathedral, he is immature in handling love relationships, which makes him overreact. The two characters in the two stories have a herculean task of balancing romantic relationships and everyday life they have to face while interacting with people.

The two stories differ tremendously in the way the stories end. The story Ably examines treacherous hazards of life at various stages of development of the child. The protagonist commences the story with his peers and he is full of energy and childhood spirit of adventure. His aspirations are cultivated and then denied at the end of the story. This signifies that not everything that a person wants will always be at his or her disposal at all times. On the other hand, in Cathedral the conflicts are amicably solved. The author makes the readers understand the change in attitude that the husband goes through in his perception of disability. His attitude towards Robert changes tremendously. In an endeavor to understand the issues concerning the cathedral, the two main characters in a practical way try to identify the contours of the cathedral. In a moment of reflection, the husband realizes what he had been all along. He had failed to appreciate and recognize the feelings of other people. He was blind, oblivious to who people really are judging them by their disabilities.

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