Lines 117-124 In Cathedral Essay, Research Paper
In lines 117-124 in Raymond Carver s Cathedral Robert and Bub are drawing a cathedral. This passage is found at the end of the story and it details Bub s spiritual revelation. Bub s salvation and ascension comes through the interaction with Robert while drawing the cathedral. This is an enlightening experience for Bub. Robert is a man of great insight and helps guide Bub towards a spiritual nature of life. The drawing of the cathedral transcends the physical act of drawing to a spiritual awakening and a deeper understanding of activity, identity, and communication.
In line 121, Bub says he is no artist but keeps drawing just the same. Bub usually drinks, smokes dope, and watches T.V.. He is not a man of the arts and is not used to drawing. When Bub and Robert draw together, the human interaction that is involved brings Bub great joy. The activity of drawing allows for physical contact through human interaction and emotional contact through communication. Also, Carver might be using this medium of expression, drawing , to show how Bub is being drawn or pulled up and out of his stagnant life.
When Bub begins to draw, the first thing he draws is a box. Bub says the box could be his house. Drawing a box first, is a non-verbal Freudian Slip . The box represents the confined aspect of his own life and the barriers he draws around himself. Robert penetrates these barriers. He does so by making Bub feel good about himself. Bub lacks self identity. He s continually criticizing others so he can be seen as a better person and feel some personal worth. Robert consistently complements and flatters Bub. This makes Bub feel comfortable and it creates a positive self image within himself. The more they draw the more Robert encourages. The more Robert encourages the more Bub realizes his identity, and the more Bub realizes his identity the more detailed and elaborate the drawing becomes. This development of self-identity continues right up until the end of the story when Bub feels as if he is not inside of anything. This represents how Bub has escaped his previous self-image to an elevated, positive self-image.
With Robert s hand on Bub s, Bub tries to explain what a Cathedral looks like by drawing one. Within this act of drawing, a non-verbal conversation takes place. Bub is trying to express the physical characteristics of the cathedral to Robert; while Robert expresses to Bub the true essence of a cathedral, communion. Two questions are being answered within this interaction: Bub answers Robert s question of what a cathedral looks like, and Robert answers Bub s cry of what the meaning of life is.
Earlier in the story Bub s wife falls asleep between Robert and Bub. Asleep, her robe is open and her thigh is revealed. At first, Bub respects the privacy of his wife and attempts to cover her up, but when he remembers that Robert is blind he throws her robe back open, lusting over her flesh. In line 115 Robert says lets do her . Within Christianity the church is seen as Christ s bride, and it is always referred to as a female. Within line 122 of the passage, Bub s wife asks what they are doing. Her robe is hanging open, but this time Bub pays no attention to her revealed flesh. He is embracing the essence of divine love and seems to be uninterested in lusting over his wife s body.
This passage is a passage. It is a spiritual passage Bub takes to reach enlightment and for the story to reach it s epiphany. In the last line of the passage Robert says, What s a Cathedral without people . Robert is hinting at the importance of fellowship. Bub is ascending, and this passage shows how he can t do it alone.