CT Journal: Draw a clear, precise comparison between two of the texts we have read. Include at least one quoted reference to each text to illustrate the point of comparison.
I chose to compare "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway. Although these two stories might not seem like they have many similarities, I noticed some major similarities between the two.
Ernest Hemingway writes in a very straightforward and simple way. So does Raymond Carver. The first sentence in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" says, "It was late and every one had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadow the leaves of the tree made against the electric light." That sentence clearly states that there is an old man who is sitting in a cafe under the leave's shadows. In "Cathedral", the first and second sentences say, "This blind man, an old friend of my wife's, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died." Carver also directly states that there is this blind man who's an old friend of his wife's just died. Another characteristic in just these two examples is the amount of syllables in each word. The first sentence in "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" has no more than five words of more than one syllable. In "Cathedral", the first two sentences consist of all one-syllable words. This is a very interesting technique used by both authors to keep their stories simple and forward.
Another similarity between the two writings is how they end. In both stories, you have a realization, only after reading through them once or twice. In "Cathedral", you don't realize that the cathedral used to make a drawing is quite significant. A cathedral is a place of gathering for every one, regardless of race, ethnicity, or disability. This understanding that a cathedral is a place of gathering helps the rather cynical man to have an "epiphany." He becomes accepting of the blind man and suddenly realizes and understands the blind man's point of view in the world. In "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" we have to read through the story a couple of times to understand the meaning of nothingness and the belief in nothingness. In both stories the what we realize in the end is in the story, you just have to put some thought into it, and when you do, you are the one with the realization or "epiphany."
In "Cathedral" and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" the main characters seem to have no particular religion. But in "Cathedral" the characters try to picture a cathedral, and that prayer said in the end of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" about nothingness (our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. . .) is associated with Christianity. It's interesting how they use these"principles" of Christianity, then have this experience, realization or epiphany in the end.
In "Cathedral" the story is written as a first person narrative. So it seems like the character is telling you his story rather than that you reading it. "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" almost seems like the characters are talking to you too. It doesn't have that first person narrating the story, but it does have that feel of the characters talking to you. Both stories seem like you are actually holding a conversation with the characters.
Although "Cathedral" and "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" are both seemingly different these two stories have many similarities. Their simple and straightforward design also adds to the deceptive "look" of the story. You actually need to put in a lot of thought to notice the realizations in each story, but it's their simplicity that makes these two writings such great writing pieces.
For this assignment, I have chosen Jack London's "To Build a Fire," and Ernest Hemingway's "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place." Although these two short stories may seem different, I believe that there is at least one similarity that I can compare, and that is the fire in London's piece, and the clean well-lighted place, or the cafe in Hemingway's piece. In each story, there are people who depend on these things. In "To Build a Fire," the man depends on the fire for survival, and in "A Clean Well-Lighted Place," the older waiter depends on the cafe every night.
In both of the stories, the people who depend on the fire and the cafe seem to be alone in their lives at that moment. The man is out in the wilderness, and although we know that he does have friends, the author paints us a nice picture that shows us that he is miles from anything or anyone (not including the dog). In Hemingway's story, the older waiter is alone in his life. The text states that he only has his job; he does not have a wife, or a family. So we know that at the moment that both of these stories are being told, the depending people are alone.
I think that the people in these stories depend on the fire and the cafe because of their loneliness. The waiter says, "This is a clean and pleasant cafe. It is well lighted. The light is very good and also, now, there are shadows of the leaves." I think that the waiter is not only speaking for others, but also for himself. I think that he needs the cafe as well. A quote from London's story says, "There was the fire, snapping and crackling and promising life with every dancing flame." It's obvious that this man requires the fire in order to survive. These quotes help prove that these people are depending on the fire or the cafe. However, if the man in the wilderness was not alone, he wouldn't have to depend on the fire as much because if he had friends there, they maybe would have helped him avoid falling in the lake, or they could of made more fires for him so he wouldn't have to solely depend on "the two fires" that he made alone. In Hemingway's story, the waiter would not have to depend on the cafe if he had a family. Then he would want to leave the cafe to go home to his family like the younger waiter. Most people who have jobs are happy when they get off work so they can go home to see their family and do whatever. But the older waiter doesn't have anything to go home to, so he sees no reason to do so, and is reluctant to close up every night for fear that people like himself need the cafe. The cafe is his only sense of commitment, whereas if he had a family, then that would be his commitment.
So I think that the man in the wilderness and the older waiter both depend on something (the fire and the cafe) because of they are alone in their lives at the time the story is told; therefore, the fire and the cafe are very similar to each other because people depend on them when they are alone.