Dim fire

  ”When I started writing, expectations were low. In this country, choosing to be a short story writer or a poet basically meant living in the shadows and no one would notice.”
  1983 Card for American Writers For Buddha, it was undoubtedly a lucky year. This spring, he received the “Strauss Allowance” from the American Academy of Letters and Arts. With this, he resigned from the university and became a professional writer. For the first time, he did not Livelihood worries. In the fall of the same year, his collection of novels, The Cathedral, was published and was immediately nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Five years later, he died of cancer at the age of fifty. Perhaps it was his continuous work that touched God and gave him the last tenth of his life.
  Carver married his 16-year-old girlfriend at the age of 19 and became the male owner of a family of four at the age of 20. The stress of life then followed him like a lingering shadow. And his life before that was lackluster: his father was a sawmill and alcoholic; his mother was a waiter and retail salesman in a restaurant; he joined a sawmill at the age of 18 after graduating from high school to work with his seriously ill father. Carver once said: “Henry Miller, when he was 40 years old when he was writing Tropic of Cancer, said that he was going to write in a rented room and he might have to stop his pen at any moment because he was sitting Chairs may be taken. Until recently, this has been the norm in my life. Ever since I can remember, ever since I was a teenager, I have been worried that the chair under me could be taken at any moment. People move. Year after year. My lover and I run around all day trying to keep the roof over our heads. We had dreams. We thought we could bend our necks and work hard and do what we wanted. But we thought wrong.” Sincerely said, in a state of “always worried that the chair under him will be taken away”, Carver’s work is all to “try to keep the roof over his head”, which is Survive and work hard. Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that Carver writes short stories and poems: he needs something that he can sit down and write in one sitting. He had been addicted to alcohol for 13 years, which had ruined his family, and recalled: “Obviously, my drinking experience helped me write those novels about alcoholism, but I went through those days and then It must be a miracle that those novels were written. No, I don’t think the experience of alcoholism has any meaning, it is only wasteful and painful.” Therefore, the appearance of a large number of alcoholic characters in his writings is not enough. Difficult to understand. He went bankrupt twice, and in order to make a living, he did various jobs: janitor, cleaner, gas station worker, picking tulips for others… So his life is also a picture of the bottom life. The characters in his writings also face the same pressure of life as him, and are beaten all over by life. “It can be done to write ordinary things in ordinary but precise language, and give them vast and amazing power. To write a greeting that seems innocuous on the surface, and then pass it on to the reader with a cold meaning, it is It can be done.”
  ”Under no circumstances can I imagine myself approaching the subject matter of ordinary everyday life, or so-called ‘vulgar things’, in a mocking and demeaning manner. I don’t think that between the lives we live and the lives we write about, there is no There should be any fence. I’m ashamed of those who are embarrassed to write about shaved heads, slippers, ashtrays, polenta, etc.”
  ”The Cathedral” is Carver’s mature work. His own comment on the collection of short stories: “Generous.” The lessening of the pressures of life gave him some respite. But this work is still a “Carver-style” work, and it can even be said to be his representative work. Reading novels for the first time gives people a dull, stereotyped feeling. The writer’s description without any emotional color makes people unable to appreciate the ups and downs behind the words. However, if you keep reading, you will feel more and more what he said in the previous article. I think maybe what really makes people tremble is the reality of life, the misery of life. If the novel is just a kind of imitation and expression, then what shocks us is everything it conveys: we cry because of suffering, mourn because of pain, and bewildered because of the boundless life. It is such a power that Carver conveys in his minimalist language.
  As a representative writer of “minimalism”, Carver’s words appear simple and thin. His novels are all unfolded in plain language, with plain beginnings and unremarkable endings. For readers who are accustomed to the form of classic novels, it is difficult to adapt at first. Especially at the end of his novel, it seems that the writer’s writing was suddenly interrupted, so he stopped writing. If the reader wants to ask what happened later, I don’t think the writer himself can give that question. What Carver writes is a fragment of life, and life goes on and on until the end of the river of life. What he shows us is just a part of what he has intercepted. If this part is put into life, I think the ending is still moving forward with the flow of time. Therefore, in this sense, it is not difficult to understand such an ending. For example, the often-discussed classic “A Little Good Thing” in “The Cathedral”. The couple who lost their son at the end start a conversation with the baker with whom they had a misunderstanding. What would they say, what story would the baker have, and what words would he use to comfort the poor couple? The writer did not explain. All we know about is one continuation of the act: talking. We can fill this conversation with what we want. Perhaps it is the effect that the writers who are cherishing ink like gold want – to speak with blank space and let the readers “speak”.
  Carver hated the “minimalist” label that critics gave him. The so-called “minimalism” is developed from Hemingway’s literary style, that is, when writing follows the “law of subtraction”: delete redundant descriptions, use as few adjectives as possible, and try to explain what is to be written in the fewest words possible. Although Carver doesn’t like the label, he’s still a “guru of minimalism.” From the simple and straight-line plots in his novels, the precise and short language describing the environment, the dialogues between characters and the promotion of time by a large number of blanks, one can feel a “minimalist” flavor coming. When talking about writing, Carver said that he did not hesitate to cut words, and his manuscripts were often left with half or even three quarters after cutting. Such novels give a sense of fragmentation, a sense of cohesion of different fragments. And the use of white space in the novel makes this sense of fragmentation even more pronounced. On the other hand, our lives are actually connected by such fragments: home, school, work, friends, relatives… The existence of all fragments is to separate people into individual roles, and the more modern social life, these fragments become more and more. The more refined, the more tightly packed it is to the person.
  Carver’s characters are life’s underdogs, who work at the lowest levels and have a variety of vices, the deadliest of which is alcoholism. This group of people, as the broadest social bottom, supports the prosperity and splendor of the middle and upper classes of society. What they care about is not Congress, not the struggle between Democrats and Republicans, not the Middle East, but what they care about is wages, jobs, food prices, etc., the immediate and constant threats to them. They are troubled by the problem of survival and seem to be struggling in the quagmire. This is just a struggle, a pointless resistance. Carver’s characters seem to be forever filled with endless indifference, indifference among friends, indifference between relatives, indifference between husband and wife, and indifference to oneself. These indifferences often appear at the same time, and the indifference between husband and wife is the writer’s most important. This also seems to come from the writer’s experience. Carver once said that his characters are self-portraits. How to appreciate the coldness behind this indifference? I think it should be a kind of numbness to life, a deep exhaustion. They have exhausted their energy to survive. This is the coldness of a truth of life. Of course, critics believe that in the novel “Cathedral”, this situation has changed. From the two novels “A Small Thing of Good Deeds” and “The Cathedral”, people can smell a different kind of warmth. This may be the “generous” mentioned above.
  ”What creates tension in a novel? In part, thanks to the way the specific sentences are linked together, this makes up the visible parts of the novel. But just as important are those parts that are omitted, those The hinted part, the scenery beneath the calm, smooth surface of the food. I cut out the unnecessary movement, and I wanted to write the kind of novel with low ‘visibility’.”
  The Cathedral tells a story: “I “One of my wife’s blind friends wanted to visit “my” house, “I” disagreed, but reluctantly accepted it. After the blind man came, “I” was always uncomfortable with this, feeling curious and helpless. After eating and drinking, the three of us talked and watched TV, and then the wife fell asleep. The blind man asked “me” to describe the cathedral that appeared on TV for him. When “I” felt that he couldn’t describe it, he suggested that “we” draw the cathedral together: I drew with a stroke, he held my hand with his hand, and felt the church image of. The novel ends with: “My eyes are still closed. I’m sitting in my own house. I know this. But I feel so free that nothing can wrap me around. I say: ‘That’s nice.'”
  It can be seen that in this novel, “I” gradually changed “I”‘s indifference, “I” gradually let go of the prejudice against the blind man, began to communicate with him, and felt “this is really good”. We can regard the act of “me” drawing the church with the blind man’s hand as “me” breaking through the self-defense. In such a way, “I” transmits the world of “I” to the world of the blind. And I also closed my eyes and felt that I experienced and felt the world from the perspective of a blind person. In this way the ice of indifference is melted. This is different from the way people communicate with each other in the previous Carver novels. For example, in “Feather”: “I” and my wife go to a friend’s house for dinner, although “we” sit and talk together, our language is full of boredom, and beneath the surface of the conversation is the truth that cannot be communicated. Everyone of “we” is trying their best to find something to talk about, but as soon as the words are said, they feel that this sentence seems to have nothing to do with it. And since that meeting, the conversation between “me” and his wife has become less and less, and the relationship between “me” and friends has also undergone subtle changes. I think this change occurs because “we” are aware of the indifference that exists between “us”, but they can only pretend to ignore it. In comparison, we can see the changes in Carver’s creative attitude and life attitude in the short story “The Cathedral”.
  Another important character in “The Cathedral”: “my” wife’s blind friend, is also an interesting character. In the novel, “I”‘s consistent impression of blind people also represents most people’s impressions of blind people: “My impression of blindness comes from movies. In those movies, blind people move slowly and always keep their faces straight. Sometimes You have to rely on a guide dog to lead the way.” But this blind friend overturned this impression (or prejudice). He had a loud voice and was neatly dressed, without crutches or sunglasses. “My” impression is that blind people don’t smoke because they can’t see their prominent cigarettes, but he can smoke very well. He has an amazing appetite, and uses his knife and fork very neatly. He can even “hear” whether the TV is in color or black and white. Moreover, he was afraid that “I” would be bored when talking with “my” wife, and from time to time he turned his face and asked “me” some questions. Finally, he asked “I” to paint the church for him, and “we” to experience the church together. From here we can see the blind man’s attitude towards life: one is positive and one is working hard. Characters with such an attitude to life are almost absent in Carver’s previous novels. Although he is blind, he experiences everything with his heart, enriching his world with the senses he can use. The colorfulness of the heart is far better than the darkness in front of him. It can be found from him that a strong heart is the greatest driving force in life and the best guide. So when “I” drew his hand to paint the church together, what “I” felt was not only the warmth that eliminated the indifference mentioned above, but also the feeling that “I” felt from the blind. a positive force. This power excites me and delights me. “I” experienced his diligent pursuit of this world from a person from a “different world”. This power is like a faint light of fire that warms me.
  Although Carver didn’t shout out a slogan like “love life” at the end, I think every reader will understand his intention after reading the novel. This is indeed very different from Carver’s previous works. His previous work was like a table full of leftovers, and this time, he gave us a nice menu and set the table with candles. Perhaps this interpretation of Carver’s novel seems too positive, perhaps. But I firmly believe that the greater meaning of literature is to give people beauty, love, kindness, warmth and freedom.

error: Content is protected !!