Examine spiritual vs. materialistic approaches to living

by | Apr 16, 2022 | English

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(MLA) FORMAT Essay #2 Prompt: Both Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” and Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” illustrate a contrast between spiritual and materialistic approaches to living. Write a 5 page paper (the fifth page will be the Works Cited page) in which you examine spiritual vs. materialistic approaches to living as they presents in both these stories. There is no need to compare/contrast these two stories although you can if you wish.
Here is a template for how to think about a focused free-write for essay #2. You can use these ideas or formulations to generate ideas you may want to explore in your essay
The topic of spirituality vs. materialism is explored in both Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” and Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” through characters in conflict or contact with one another who either exhibit these respective values, are materialistic thinking that they are spiritual, or transition from possessing materialistic values to viewing the world more spiritually.
Discuss how and why Maggie and Ms. Johnson are characters who possess spiritual values. What do material things mean to them? How do we know they are spiritual? What does this story tell us it means to be spiritual? Explain as relevant.
Dee thinks she is spiritual but is materialistic. How do we know this? How do these characters embody these different values and what happens when they come into contact with one another?
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” Robert is spiritual, the narrator’s wife appreciates spiritual values (she is a less developed character) and the narrator transitions from viewing the world through a purely and extremely material lens (only believing in what the eyes actually view) to a spiritual one. Explain how and what spirituality means in this story.
Explain how Robert is spiritual, though literally blind, and the narrator is materialistic thought sighted, and why this story illustrates how spiritual values are better to possess than materialistic values.
Explain how the narrator of “Cathedral” moves from a materialistic “vision” of the world to a spiritual one, and how that move may be ironic.
In the process of discussing characters, you will explore the concepts of spirituality and materialism as they are used in the story (this narrator is materialistic because only sees the literal, material dimension of life, until he changes, becoming more spiritual. How does he become spiritual and what are spiritual values as presented in this story?

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