Cathedral Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What artistic forms are addressed in “Cathedral”?

2. Where does the blind man live?

3. What beverage does the blind man drink with his dinner in the story?

4. What slang term does the blind man use at the end of the story to mean “to lie”?

5. Where does the narrator spread out the pen and paper when he returns with it in the story?

Short Essay Questions

1. How is the theme of transformation illustrated through the narrator’s wife in the story? When did her “transformation” take place with the blind man?

2. How does the narrator begin his drawing? What does his wife ask at this time?

3. What do the narrator and Robert say in their discussion of religion in the story?

4. How are the characters in “Cathedral” representative of Raymond Carver’s style?

5. How does the narrator describe Robert’s arrival in the story?

6. Why does the narrator say the blind man is coming to visit in the beginning of the story?

7. When and where was “Cathedral” first published? What awards was it nominated for?

8. How does the narrator’s wife respond to the marijuana downstairs when she returns?

9. What drives the narrative plot of “Cathedral”? What effect does this have on the plot’s structure?

10. What is “minimalist fiction” and how does it apply to “Cathedral”?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the theme of isolation and alienation as applied to the protagonist of “Cathedral.” In what ways does the narrator describe a life that is isolated from those around him? How is this illustrated in the “after-dinner” scene in the living room?

Essay Topic 2

Discuss the theme of prejudice as it applies to the narrator in “Cathedral.” How does the narrator demonstrate his prejudice about the blind early in the narrative? How does his prejudice change through the story? How is the narrator’s prejudice in the story developed around ignorance?

Essay Topic 3

Analyze and discuss the narrator’s wife in “Cathedral.” How old do you approximate this character to be? What qualities does the wife exhibit through her actions in the story? Based upon the author’s dialogue, how would you characterize the narrator’s relationship with his wife?

(see the answer keys)

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