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. The blind man asks the narrator’s wife if he looks what, when he meets her husband?

2. What does the narrator’s wife say she is going to do upstairs as she exits, leaving the narrator and the blind man alone after dinner?

3. What did the blind man ask the narrator’s wife if he could do on her last day working for him?

4. What term, often used to characterize Raymond Carver’s writing, refers to a style in which the seamier or more mundane aspects of ordinary life are presented in unadorned language?

5. Where in Portugal does the television show feature a cathedral?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does the narrator describe his experience in the final lines of the story?

2. How does the narrator’s wife respond when he turns on the television? What conversation ensues?

3. How does the narrator feel about the blind man’s visit in the beginning of the story? What are his impressions of “the blind”?

4. What prompts the narrator to begin speaking during the television show?

5. What is signified by the narrator’s choice to keep his eyes closed at the end of the story?

6. Which of the characters in the story stands out from the theme of alienation? Why?

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

8. How does the narrator describe the scene once his wife has gone upstairs after dinner?

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

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

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

Describe and discuss the theme of learning in “Cathedral.” What is the importance of learning as an individual? How is this reflected in the story? Do you think that the narrator effectively “learns something” by the end of the story?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss the Middle Ages and the erection of cathedrals during this historical period. Where are the cathedrals in the story (on television) principally located? Why? How are these structures described?

(see the answer keys)

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