REVIEWS: Cathedral – Turning Point

Some notes first.  Robert takes to calling the narrator "bub" which is common, but also could be a power play.  In any event, names (labels?) are an important theme in this story.

When the wife comes back down, she smokes a joint with the two men, sitting between them on the couch.  If we see them first on separate sides of a table during a meal, then Robert and the woman on the couch with the narrator on a chair–we might assume it is facing them or at least in the general direction, we note that they are now all together on the couch.  There’s movement toward each other here.  Perhaps even the relationship of the narrator and his wife is reflected in this physical positioning (aside from the obvious need to be within arm’s reach of each other).

"No, I’ll stay up with you, bub.  If that’s all right.  I’ll stay up until you’re ready to turn in. We haven’t had a chance to talk.  Know what I mean? I feel like me and her monopolized the evening."  He lifted his beard and he let it fall.  He picked up his cigarettes and his lighter.
"That’s all right," I said.  Then I said, "I’m glad for the company."
And I guess I was.  Every night I smoked dope and stayed up as long as I could before I fell asleep.  My wife and I hardly ever went to bed at the same time.

There’s an interesting shift in po
sitioning here.  And just prior to the above, with the wife asleep, a more interesting one:

Her head lay across the back of the sofa, her mouth open.  She’d turned so that the robe had slipped away from her legs, exposing a juicy thigh.  I reached to draw her robe back over her, and it was then that I glanced at the blind man.  What the hell! I flipped the robe open again.
"You say when you want some strawberry pie" I said.

He realizes that the other man cannot enjoy the sight of his wife’s "juicy thigh" and is likely reassured of his home base which this other man has ‘invaded’ physically as opposed to his prior claim to her past and via tape recordings since.  The narrator, feeling secure, and reinforcing his territorial borders, offers Robert "some strawberry pie."  A metaphor, surely…

Several times during the evening, Robert "lifted his beard."  I’m not sure of the significance here, but the narrator’s amazement that he should have a beard clearly points to a symbol of sorts–intelligence? maturity?  generosity (Santa Claus?)

Despite my belief that the story was all told in the first two paragraphs, these details fill out the narrative by giving us some basis of understanding of background, rounding of characters, as well as a  slower, more gentle build towards a conclusion  which appear to indicate a gradual acceptance of Robert as well as himself by the narrator.

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