Symbols are symbols of one thing used to evoke a certain interpretation of another. This kind of play or story writing can be seen all over the place. Symbolism in contextual literature employs structures, figures, contexts, or terms to portray other entities such as ideas (Thomas). It is divided into two types: metaphor, which contrasts two dissimilar concepts or things, allegory, which occurs in an entire novel, text, or poem, and symbolism, which is apparent in the literary piece. Authors use symbols to describe specific circumstances, persons, or things, and to convey indirect meanings that readers must decipher. Thus, symbolism gives readers insight into pieces of literature. The meaning of a particular symbol depends on how readers understand a story or a poem. In some situations, different readers will give particular symbol different meanings but depend on how the author uses such symbols (Mazzotta).
In the Story “Cathedral, ” Cover offers readers a masterpiece writing, where most of his narrative centers on his meeting with a blind man, and happens that the blind man is a friend of his wife. The two, the author, Raymond and the blind man, Robert are watching TV and the program, the Cathedral program is on. The manner in which the author describes the Cathedral indicates his detest in Cathedrals. He describes them as objects requiring support as they are tall, and sometimes big. They have devils, ladies and lords. As the author explains what is happening on the TV to the blind man. It is clear he does not like the idea of the blind man denying himself of the very peace he requires in his own house. In the story, the Cathedrals are bad things, and a reader is able to understand what he means when describing them. Devils in the Cathedral are horrifying similar to what the author feels about the visitor. He is threatened in the fact that his wife seems to be in love with the blind man. It is clear the explanation he tries to give gets into the blind man’s nerves and he keeps running his fingers over his beards, a sort of discomfort when someone has to relate the program to the current situation. The author says that Cathedrals take years to build and the builders never live to see efforts of their work. From the reader’s shoes, the author tries to insinuate the fact that the blind man had worked with his wife in Seattle but never ended marrying her. The author tells the blind man, “In that wise, bub, they’re no different from the rest of us, right?”. He means to create some sense in the blind man that working with someone’s wife in the past does not give a person the right or the privilege to snoop into their later life. The story ends when the blind man tells the author to close his eyes as they draw Cathedrals on the paper. Here, the blind man gives the author a message that despite their differences they can do something in common. The author, however, does not agree to this and thus chooses to close his eyes.
Overall, symbolism makes a story interesting. It elicits some anxiety to the reader and makes them think broadly to derive the meaning conveyed by the author. Symbolism indicates the level of creativity of the author and this makes their writings adored by the readers. With symbols being representations of other objects for other objects.
Carver, Raymond. Cathedral. Poetry Foundation Review:, 1981.
Mazzotta, Tina. “LANGUAGE AND MEANING: SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM.” USC Upstate Undergraduate Research Journal 1 (2008): 20-22.
Thomas, Shamekia. What is Symbolism in Literature? – Definition, Types & Examples. 2017. 22 March 2017.