Postmodernism and minimalism in
Raymond Carver’s Cathedral
Raymond Carver’s short story Cathedral can be considered a representative of the Postmodernist current in the American literature of the 1980s; at the same time, it meets some important traits of Minimalism, that is, the plot, the language and even the characters are stripped-down to their most fundamental features.
Being a short story, it sticks to the main characteristic of such a genre - briefness and concision - focusing on only one incident (in this case - the blind man’s visit), having a single plot, a single setting (the narrator’s house), a limited number of characters (three) and covering a short period of time (one evening).
From the very beginning of the story, the abrupt introduction into facts, skipping the traditional exposition, is a minimalist sign: THIS blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night (Carver 205). It is subtly suggested an anterior narrative, though we are not given too many details about this; the events are under an aura of mystery meant to stir the reader’s imagination and to encourage him to forego a personal interpretation of the action, without any directions from the author. “In Hassan’s terms, the narrative voice employs an anti-style, […] an ordinary language [that] paradoxically serves to distance the narrating voice from its origins” (Trussler, The narrowed voice: minimalism and Raymond Carver). That is, the author is no longer omniscient, but mute and barely present; it does no longer exist the concept of a universal correct interpretation, suggested by the author, but a series of personal interpretations that all readers are free to make.
- Quote paper
- Andra Stefanescu (Author), 2006, Postmodernism and minimalism in Raymond Carver's "Cathedral", Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/91270