• Both Authors are from the Middle Class and Write about Suburban Life (King)• “Mythic Middle Class” (McPhillips) • Neddy’s Journey• Keeping Up Appearances (Bosha) • Aspiring to an alternate version of realityMiddle Class
REALITY VERSUS PERCEPTIONThemes in “The Swimmer” and “Cathedral”
• Self Centricity • Carver’s speaker is only concerned about how things affect him • Neddy is so self-absorbed that he constructs his own version of reality• Subjectivity of Reality • Neddy defies reality, refusing to accept the past • Ambiguity of time (eNotes.com) • Inability to talk about love • What love is • Seeing versus understanding • Narrator describing cathedral to Blind man • Meaning separate from sight?Reality and Perception
• Ideas of Race • Names bearing ideas of Character (Hall) • Distrust of Narrative • Exchanging tapes • Neddy’s misconception time • Emphasizing Surface Detail (May) • Why is the surface important?Reality and Perception
• Why is it important that both narratives are set in the middle class? • How important is sight (or any other sense) to reality? • Is there a literal version of reality? Or is it subjective? Why? • What is the significance of the appearance of marijuana in “Cathedral?” How is drug use relevant when discussing ideas of perception?Discussion Questions
Works CitedBosha, Francis J, ed. The Critical Response to John Cheever. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1994.Print.Burhans, Clinton S. Jr. "John Cheever and the Grave of Social Coherence." Twentieth CenturyLiterature 14.4 (1969): 187-198. JSTOR. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.Current-Garcia, Eugene. "The Swimmer: Overview." Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed.Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.Hall, Vanessa. "Racial Imaginings in Raymond Carvers Short Stories and in American Culture."Mosaic 43.4 (n.d.): 87-102. Gale Databases. Web. 24 April 2012."John Cheever The Swimmer Criticism." enotes.com. eNotes, n.d. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.<http://www.enotes.com/swimmer-criticism/swimmer-john-cheever>King, Stephen. “Raymond Carver’s Life and Stories.” nytimes.com. The New York Times. 19 Apr.2009. Web. 24 April 2012. < http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/22/books/review/King-t.html?pagewanted=all>May, Charles E. "Do You See What Im Saying?: The Inadequacy of Exaplanation and the Uses ofStory in the Short Fiction of Raymond Carver." The Yearbook of English Studies , Vol. 31. (2001), pp.39-49. Web.McPhillips, Robert. "Suburbia and Its Discontents." The Sewanee Review 97.2 (1989): 293-296.JSTOR. Web. 3 Apr. 2012.