The discussion for the week is on “Cathedral.” I want to repeat, if I have already said, that the plot of stories is fundamentally not of much interest. Meaning is. Some plot helps give the characters a chance to act and react in a given set of circumstances, but the plot is mostly a tactic. Even Shakespeare reused old stories, the momentous and enduring consequence of his plays due largely to his language, not to his plots.
When we read “Cathedral,” nothing really happens. There is no real drama in the environment; in fact it is so quotidian as to be lethargic, boring. Yet Robert and Bub engage in unexpected ways, and the story itself does not answer all our questions about why that is or how it happened that way. That’s where we come in. We are trying to explain why all the time when we write papers; it is our first and most important duty.
Why, when the narrator (Bub) could easily have said he is too tired and gone to bed, does he agree to get materials and sit on the floor next to Robert drawing blindly? What could possibly motivate such a man to begin this and to continue?
The link to the short story is below.