The central narrative explored in this thesis originates from the short story ‘Cathedral’ written by the American author Raymond Carver. In his thesis ‘Castle to Cathedral: The Architecture of Masculinity in Raymond Carver’s ‘Cathedral’ author Chris J. Bullock links the viewpoints and ruminations of Anthony Easthope, from his study of masculine fortifications known as ‘What a Man’s Gotta Do.’
By dividing the story into three acts Bullock explains how the narrator’s interactions with his wife and his newfound guest, Robert act as architectural metaphors to the masculine ego. The single apparent and two subtle allegories which are interwoven into the story serve to investigate the boundaries of the masculine icon represented as a Panopticon or a cathedral. Bullock in his writings attempts to “examine the use of each of these metaphors, and then bring together the understanding of masculinity and its possibilities that they convey” (Bullock, para 3).
Bullock primary contention is that even the title of the story “Cathedral” supports the perception of an isolationist. One who in an effort to protect his masculinity abandons all social connections, as well as his own feminine characteristics, representing them as treasonous aspects of himself. “Through the implied metaphor of the castle, then, “Cathedral” portrays what we might sum up as the isolation of the masculine ego, its pushing away of relationship with others and with other parts of the psyche” (Bullock, para. 17)
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