Books and Movies Reviews

Raymond Carver: The Cathedral

Interpretative theories suggest that a person’s response to a text depends on various factors and each person might respond differently based on those factors. Stanley Fish is of the view that people respond to a text in the light of their own experiences. This theory uses the term “interpretive communities” to explain a person’s response to a given piece of text. According to Stanley, interpretive community is actually “point of view or way of organizing experience that share[s] individuals” (Naturally 141). Within this community, all readers should have similar response to a text while those outside this community might have a different opinion. However within one interpretive community “…both texts and readers lose the independence that would be necessary for either of them to claim the honor of being the source of interpretive authority” (Fish, Naturally 142).
Fish is of the view that the room for interpretation exists in the gaps found within the text. However where these gaps exist might again be dependent on a person’s own beliefs and
Interpretive strategy. T. S. Kuhn called this the priority of paradigms:
[I]f the “textual signs” do not announce their shape but appear in a variety of shapes according to the differing expectations and assumptions of different readers, and if gaps are not built into the text, but appear (or do not appear) as a consequence of particular interpretive strategies, then there is no distinction between what the text gives and what the reader supplies; he supplies everything; the stars in a literary text are not fixed; they are just as variable as the lines that join them. (7)
When we apply this theory to The Cathedral by Raymond Carver, we realize that often the interpretation has a lot to do with what a person has experienced himself or feels he can identify with. For example, for a woman who is going through a troubled marriage, any story with an unhappy female lead might remind her of t

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