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ENG 125 Week 2 DQs

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Week 2
DQ1 Question: Chapter 5 discusses the importance of point of view in literature and, more
specifically, in the short story. Choose one short story from the course text about which you have
not yet written, and analyze it in terms of point of view.
When writing your post, consider the following questions
How would you categorize the point of view [e.g., first-person, second-person (i.e., “you”),
third-person limited, third-person omniscient]?
Is the point of view consistent throughout the story (told from the same perspective), or does
it shift at any points in the narrative? (If so, make note of when and how those changes
occur.)
How does point of view shape your reading of the work? In what ways does it contribute to
or detract from your reading of the work?
How does point of view relate to the story’s themes or content?
DQ1 Answer: Raymond Caver's "Cathedral" begins in a third person narrative. It is written with
limited omniscience of a blind man that his wife had remained long-term friends with. Almost a
third into the very first paragraph, he switches and starts speaking of himself and how he feels about
this blind man coming to stay with he and his wife, since the other man's wife had passed on. He
writes that His wife had died". However, at the end of that same paragraph, he adds that his "idea of
blindness came from the movies". This is the first switch in perspective. The second paragraph,
Raymond continues on a limited omniscience third person perspective, describing the deceased wife
of the blind man. The third paragraph, Raymond writes of his first person view again and how he
met his wife. Every paragraph, Raymond switches perspective. He wrote a paragraph from his first
hand perspective, then a paragraph of third person limited omniscience perspective, and then his
own personal first hand perspective, and so on. Some paragraphs even switch perspective right in
the middle of them. I can relate this to a movie that has flashbacks but the original take is of a first
person perspective documentary and the flashbacks are of people or situations that had gotten them
to that particular point.
The consistency is very difficult to follow until you have read half way into the next paragraph to
find out who he is actually writing about in each paragraph. Although, I do understand his reasoning
for doing so. Raymond most likely wanted the reader to get as much background on each of the key
players in this story. In order to do so, he had to describe each of them. However, my preference

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would have been more story-like. Had he started out with the story about how the blind man and his
wife came to be, then the passing of his wife, and then half way through the book change point of
views, this would have been more comprehensible for the reader. As it is written, the back and forth
perspectives is indeed difficult to follow.
Being able to tell the reader the passed events along with his own feelings enables Raymond to
write things down as they come into his head. Instead of likely sitting down and writing out a draft,
Raymond wrote this in somewhat of a diary form. IF you think of how it is written, confusing back
and forth portions, it is written how a person would recall a situation. Sometimes when thinking
back on a situation, we do not always remember all of the details; instead of going back and
squeezing them in, we add them right where we are in the story.
DQ2 Question : Chapter 7 explores the role of symbols in conveying literary themes. Themes are
abundant in literary works (though they are at some times more obvious than at others). Select one
short story from the reading assignments (from either Week One or Week Two) to examine more
closely in relation to symbolism. Consider the story’s overall theme(s) and use of images as well as
how these two relate to one another. You may choose to explore one single recurring symbol, or you
may discuss multiple symbols and how they relate to one another.
At the beginning of your post, identify (a) the literary work that you will analyze and (b) the
theme(s) that is/are most relevant to the symbolism you will explore.
DQ2 Answer: Jean Rhys' "I Used To Live Here Once" is a story about a woman that has died but
has not come to realize yet that she is dead. Being told in a third person perspective, it was a story
that was easy to follow, unlike so many other third person stories. Although the symbols left a lot to
be imagined by the reader, the combination of the perspective and the symbols allowed me to,
although unable to relate to the character, feel as she felt. Jean was able to put this story into such
words that a living person can relate to the feelings of how being dead felt to the woman in the
story.
The theme is two-fold in my opinion. It is of the appreciation of life and also death. The story
begins with such detail of the woman's surroundings and her appreciation, her ability to notice
details. In today's society, it is uncommon to find many people who can say they even notice how
"glassy" the sky may look or even the difference of width in a road from our childhood. The theme
of death is ultimately the ending of the story when, after reading such a beautiful recollection of her
life, she realizes she is just a ghost that is looking into her own life from the outside.

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Beginning the story, the first paragraph really made me ponder. Initially, I assumed the stepping
stones to be a symbol of pictures or some form of physical memory recollection. However, after
reading the full story, the stepping stones represent different pieces of this woman's life that she can
see from the side of the water, or outside looking in. The water, itself, was representation of a source
of life. There was one "safe stone" which to me, was her home. This symbol then directed this
woman to visit her old home. "The road was much wider than it used to be" is a phrase in the story
the is symbolic of how things had changed from what she remembered before. The road is reflective
of an actual life journey that this woman is now seeing in a different view. The "blue glassy" sky is
symbolic of peacefulness. As the reader, I understand the very words "glassy blue" to be a serene
and relaxing or peaceful feeling. This particular tone eased me into the story a bit more graciously.
However, then the woman went to the old house where she used to live. Seeing those children was a
symbol of a reflection of life. Walking toward those children, she noticed that the grass was yellow.
The color yellow is actually symbolic of decay or aging. In this story, this is exactly what Jean Rhys
wants us to feel. It was almost as if she were hinting again that there was something more that we
had not caught onto. There were many hints to the fact that this story ended with death, yet until the
end, it was not definitive. When the boy turned to the girl with his "grey" eyes, this was symbolic of
emptiness. When you watch a horror movie or any movie with death in it, the eyes are always a
very distinct grey which exudes an emptiness; the boy was not empty, but the lady in the story then
realized that she was. The part of the story that gave it all away to me was when the little boy felt
the wind turn cold as she walked near them and yet they did not see her. To me, the word cold was a
symbol of
The way Jean Rhys used colors throughout the story to be symbolic to the character's feelings and
experiences enables the reader to dig deeper. Had I not taken this class, I would have read over this
story and the colors would not have been symbolic to me; the story would have been just a mystery
that ended in her being dead. I am certainly glad that I now comprehend the different symbols the
jean Rhys used in her story, as it added depth and gained my interest.

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