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Both stories address themes of communication (or the difficulties of it) and isolation, and what results when communication breaks down and isolation results. What can overcome such isolation? In constructing a thesis sentence, try to consider what barriers of communication the characters in each story confront and what sort of isolation results from that. For example, the narrator in “Cathedral” has difficulty expressing his feelings—even more, he doesn’t even admit he has feelings, and as a result he does not have a close relationship with his wife and feels awkward meeting a friend of her. What enables him to communicate with the blind man? How does drawing the cathedral with his eyes closed enable him to “feel’? Answering that question would be part of your thesis. Ask the same questions about the other story. What problems do the parents face in their desire to communicate about their child? How do they feel isolated? Are they, like the narrator in Cathedral, able to overcome the problems or not? What does this story say about human relationships and caring about each other? Answer each of these questions, and then shape this into a sentence that goes something like: In “Cathedral” and “A Good Small Thing” Raymond Carver suggests that a lack of communication results from…..and can be overcome by….., warning that the inability to do this causes……. Filling in the blanks will provide a template, a beginning, for a thesis.
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