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 color is all of the blind man’s attire when he arrives?

2. What does the narrator suggest to his wife he could do when the blind man comes to visit, causing her exasperation?

3. What are in the bottom of the shopping bag that the narrator gathers for the blind man at night?

4. Exasperated by his inability to explain a cathedral to the blind man, the narrator apologizes and says, “The truth is, cathedrals don’t mean” what to him?

5. By what familyar nickname does the blind man call the narrator?

Short Essay Questions

1. What is signified by the narrator’s final lines in the story?

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

3. Where does the rising action take place in “Cathedral”?

4. How is the beginning of the television show about the church described?

5. How are the narrator’s perceptions of race illustrated in “Cathedral”?

6. How does the narrator’s wife suggest the narrator act toward Robert when he visits?

7. How is the theme of creativity manifested through the protagonist at the end of the story?

8. How does the narrator describe his wife’s last in-person meeting with the blind man?

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

10. What takes place in the story as it builds to its climax?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Discuss the important expository elements established in the first two to three pages of “Cathedral.” Why is it important for the reader to understand the history of the narrator’s wife and her friendship with the blind man? How does this information serve the plot?

Essay Topic 2

Define “foreshadowing” in narrative literature and discuss examples of foreshadowing in “Cathedral.” How is the topic of religion foreshadowed in the dinner scene and later explored in the ending of the story? What else does the author foreshadow? What purpose does this example serve in the narrative? Does it build suspense? Does it create humor?

Essay Topic 3

Discuss Raymond Carver’s role in the minimalist movement in literature during the 1980s. What influenced this movement? Who were Carver’s influences as a writer? How is minimalism illustrated in “Cathedral”?

(see the answer keys)

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