Evaluation of a Good Man Is Hard To Find Vs. Cathedral
- Choose two stories we read this semester and discuss point of view in each. How are the two pov’s handled differently? How and why are they important to the two stories?
- Discuss religion, symbolism, or class distinction in “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and “The Hunger Artist”. Compare and contrast how religion, symbolism, or class distinction is used in each.
Point of view plays a major role in telling a story. It can allow you to see an overview of what all characters are thinking, like with an omniscient narrator, or it can limit you to personally knowing one character in particular. The difference in perspectives allows a story to be told in unique ways. One writer other might prefer to tell a story through the eyes of a character, and another might simply narrate the story themselves. The stories “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” and “Cathedral” are both told by different points of view. Having a different point of view makes each story unique, and it allow the writers to tell their stories in different ways.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” is written by Flannery O’Connor, and it tells a story of a family vacation that turn into a deadly encounter with an escaped convict. It is written with a third person point of view point of view that allows the narrator to be able to know the thoughts and feelings of the characters, which allows the readers to better know each of the characters. The importance of this point of view in this story is that it allows the readers to know the intentions of the characters actions. This is especially important in the story in the encounter with the Misfit. A lot of the information about the encounter comes from the third-person narrator explaining the thoughts and feelings of the characters. Without this explanation, the reader would have a lot less information to be able to understand and, in a way, experience the encounter for themselves. The telling of the story in third-person likes this simply makes it possible to see every side of the story, not just through one characters perspective.
“Cathedral” is written by Raymond Carver, and it tells a story of a woman who is long friends with a blind man, but her husband is somewhat jealous and judgmental of the blind man. However, her husband’s opinion changes after he gets to know the blind man personally. Carver tells this story in first-person unlike O’Connor. The use of first-person allows the reader to be metaphorically put into the shoes of the man. This makes understand the man’s thoughts easy and even personable. This way of telling a story allows the reader to relate to the character on a different level than with third-person point of view. This point of view is important to the story because it makes the simply story a very personal one. It treats the reader as the man in the story, and it allows them to learn first-hand the lessons that the man is taught by the blind man.
Religion in Gabriel Marquez’s story “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” and Franz Kafka’s “A Hunger Artist” is used in an interesting way in both of the short stories. Marquez’s story has a fare bit more direct religious elements in it than Kafka’s does, considering Kafka’s is more of an allegorical approach. However, they both include religious thoughts and ideas, and they each use them in a different way to get their point across.
Kafka’s story, “A Hunger Artist”, is a story about a man who sits in a cage and starves himself in order to gain attention and fame. Although the story itself doesn’t religion, it implies and alludes religious ideas. This story is basically an allegory of how people reject religion in the modern world. It makes allusions to stories in the Bible, particularly the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness when he fasted for forty days. The Hunger Artist’s life is a parallel to Jesus’ life. The Hunger Artist wore black like priests, and preformed “miracles” in front of people. The most similar thing between them is that both their deaths were displayed in a public manner. However, the way Kafka twists the story suggests that he had a negative view on the effectiveness of religion to help people. The twist that Kafka takes on the allegory is that the people watching simply did not care about the Hunger Artist’s suffering. This somewhat suggests that that Kafka might feel as if religion might not belong in the world. I feel like Kafka sees the Hunger Artist’s efforts as pointless because he is so quickly forgotten, and I would even argue Kafka is trying to say the same thing about Christ, which isn’t true.
In Marquez’s story, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”, he tells of an old man with wings who is taken in by a couple, Pelayo and Elisenda. At first the couple simply wanted to help the strange man, but quickly after they thought he might be an angel, they locked him up. Marquez directly made religion a part in this story through Father Gonzaga, a priest. Comes to see the angel to make a decision if the old man really was an angel or not, but he fails to come to a conclusion. I think Marquez adds this in to show how distant the people were from God. Even the priest couldn’t tell if it was an angel or not. The old man was badly mistreated by those who came to see him locked up. He was never revered as an angel, even though that’s what they advertised him to be. Once again, I think Marquez just wanted to show how distant the world was from God, as well as how flawed and messed up people are.
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