Simpler Things That Pass You By English Literature Essay

Did you ever wonder what you have missed as time passes by? Did you grow or did you just stand still as the simpler things in life pass you by. This essay will show the Element of literature by describing these stories focusing on its similarities of the characters in each story. There are three characters elements that all these stories have in common. They all have a wife, husband and another person involved. The community or environments that take place are the similarities in how the time passes by. I will be comparing the marriage in "Cathedral"(455) with that of Leroy and Norma’s marriage in Mason’s "Shiloh" (67)and Kate Chopin's story, "The Story of an hour' (38).

Bobbie Ann Mason draws her story "Shiloh" (67) from Kentucky were she was born and many Truck-Drivers reside. Similar story to Kate Chopin's story, "The Story of an hour" (38) was from the south as well, born and raised in St. Louis and lived in Louisiana with husband until he passed away. Raymond Carver story "Cathedral" (455) came from Oregon, but spent most of his life in the city. These Authors creates and establishes the connections and develops the communities in these stories. They all have a husband, wife and one other person.

In the story of "Shiloh" relates to the characters Leroy and Norma Jean Moffitt's and her mother, Mabel. Leroy comes home after he is hurt in an accident that over turns his rig. "It sits in the backyard, like a gigantic bird that has flown home to roost." (67). The changes in their individual lives when he comes home for good, he and Norma Jean deals with him been home all the time as opposed to him been home half the time. The familiar surroundings of when they were first married have come back and they try to deal with all the emotions of losing a child that have been set aside and never dealt with. Similar story to Kate Chopin's story, "The Story of an hour" (38) were a young woman finds out that her older husband has been killed in an accident. After finding relief that she had never known, of freedom to live her life as her own, then taken away by the shock that he is still alive that takes the life of her. The last story is Raymond Carver's story "Cathedral" with the characters, a Blind man, Robert and a Wife and husband with no name. The Wife's character worked as a reader for a blind man Robert in Seattle. She was alone all the time in her first marriage like Norma was in hers, made her unhappy until she for her new husband now. He has no understandings of her pass and is lazy about learning, until one day her blind friend, Robert comes for visit and changes his life forever.

Leroy and Norma Jean got married young and without the approval of her mother, Mabel. She was pregnant when she got married and that disgraced her family, so she has been trying to find the approval of her mother as the years go. Life goes on doing the things that is expected of her, instead of what makes her happy. The same as in "The Story of the hour" where she does what is expected of her too, because they both were young; they deal with life as it is. Whereas, in Cathedral, the husband does what is expected of him and just lets time pass by while his wife commutates with another individual. When change comes into place, with all stories, they seem to be awakening from a routine to see that there is a different side to life.

Leroy does not know what to do now that he has lost the comfort zone to his life. It is an unsteadily feeling when you have the fear of failing and you do not know how to get back to that zone. I can relate to this because I am a Truck-driver that was also spooked at the edge of an accident with my rig. I kept falling asleep at the wheel and the last time it happen, I woke up just as I hit the gravel. Unlike Leroy jackknifed and as was injured, I did find out that I had sleeping disorder, leaving both of us not able to return to driving the road. Leroy is a tuck- driver and Norma works in a drugstore. Their connection between them is in their conversations between their works. Norma Jean explains her work to Leroy and he relates to it with his own work. Before, when Leroy came home he used to stay in the house with Norma Jean, watching TV in bed and playing cards.(71) Now as the routines change, he is home alone most of the time. Norma Jean disappears in the morning, rather than staying with him. He has started doing crafts kits to keep him busy. I did crafts as a form of therapy for my depression. Leroy's car tends to be smaller as compared to his rig, so drives it carelessly, trying to get some of the comfortable feeling back. He notices that all this time it is the simpler things in life that he has been missing. "Subdivisions are spreading across western Kentucky like an oil slick. The sign at the edge of town says "Pop: 11,500"—only seven hundred more than it said twenty years before. Leroy can’t figure out who is living in all the new houses." (69) He feels as if he is in a new world, with all the changes in the community that he never noticed before. Leroy sees things in Norma Jean that he never realized before. Things Like she cannot look while she is chopping onions. She puts on her house slippers at precisely nine o clock every evening and then puts her jogging shoes under the couch. She saves bread heals for the birds and cooks when she is upset. She started lifting weights, reading, going to school and just anything to keep her busy. I find myself doing the same things as both of them are doing too. I started school, crafts and creating picture collages with my computer. I am trying to find my purpose in life. Maybe there are too, but they do not know how to find it with each other. In a community or society where people live half their lives as two separate lives, but live together; have less of a chance at surviving if things change. Most end up in divorce because they find they do not know each other at all. It is easier to give up than to fight keeping it. The things that were routine when he came home have faded and have not been replaced. This causes the unsure feeling of missing out of something in life.

When they lost their child to sudden infant death syndrome at the begging of their marriage, they had no closure to this part of their life to move on. Their child "Randy" was in their care and they did not even notice until the end of the movie when he was already gone. That is when all the 'what ifs come to mind, the guilt sets in and the unknown explanation to why their child's life was taken from them so soon. I can relate to this because my son is named Randy and his dad that has passed are too at a young age. I also have the 'what ifs come to my mind to this very day, even after four years have gone by. Norma was crying because her mother caught her smoking. Leroy changed it up to make her feel better by saying, "What if she caught me with a joint?" Then her mother Mabel says something about the article of the child that loses her leg to the dog, they called it neglect as to relate to their neglect with Randy. These things made her feel as a disappointment to her mother. Later, she says to Leroy, "She just said that about the baby because she caught me Smoking. Then she says, "She’s trying to pay me back." In addition, she says, "The very idea, her bringing up a subject like that! Saying it was neglect." "She didn’t mean that," Leroy says. "She might not have thought she meant it. She always says things like that. You don’t know how she goes on." (DiYanni, 2007, p. 73). This is where the lack of closure comes in. Bringing up old wounds keeps the hurt on the surface so they could never heal. My kids do that to me all the time. It is not as if you can go back and change the past to make it right. He knows he is losing Norma Jean and Leroy does not know what to do. Just waiting for time to past, he finds himself confiding in Mabel and she tells him to go the "Shiloh" that there is a log cabin there from the battlefield with holes in it. This community is full of history and the change will do her good. When they finally go, it was not a battlefield, but a beautiful place. As they go on a picnic they realize the things that have changed in their life, she says, "Everything was fine till Mama caught me smoking," says Norma Jean, standing up. "That set something off." "What are you talking about?" "She won’t leave me alone—you won’t leave me alone." Norma Jean seems to be crying, but she is looking away from him. "I feel eighteen again. I can’t face that all over again." She starts walking away. "No, it wasn’t fine. I do not know what I am saying. Forget it." (DiYanni, 2007, p. 76). Norma's character as is trying to figure out what she wants and she wants everybody to leave her alone. The fact that she cannot look at Leroy, is a sign of shame, but she does not have anything to be ashamed. She is now dealing with the pass that was left alone. Leroy goes off into his thoughts, focusing on the soldiers that died in the war, as a plastic game. It seems that Norma Jean was here with her own battlefield of life, caught up in facing the same thing as if she was eighteen again. The pain is so unbearable to think of, so she walks away alone, like Ms Mallard went to her room. Norma finds herself walking until she reaches the bluff, where she is looking out over the Tennessee River. Now she turns toward Leroy and waves her arms. Is she beckoning to him? She seems to be doing an exercise for her chest muscles. The sky is unusually pale—the color of the dust ruffles Mabel made for their bed (DiYanni, 2007). Norma Jean looks out at the river and Ms Mallard looks out the window in her room. They both feel that they were drinking in a very elixir of life. Their turning points in life came was they thought that they were to be free to live life as their own. The shock of going back to bending their will to the will of others was too much for them to bear. All they wanted was to be left alone to live life as their own.

The story relates to "The story of an hour" in the same capability. The characters, Ms Mallard is the wife and husband that supposedly dies and husbands best friend, which finds out the information and comforts her. Ms Mallard found out that her husband was killed in an accident by her sister and her husband's best friend gently because of a heart condition she has. Her character was paralyzed with a storm of grief, then went and locked herself into her room. With The inability to accept its significance of his death, she sat facing the window looking out beyond the sky, with a body exhaustive state; she could feel a new life coming, reaching for her. The details of the view within the window are the trees, birds, rain, patches of blue sky, peddler, and song—have in common the brightness of life. Then with a deep breath, she was beginning to recognize the thing that was approaching to possess her, "Go away. I am not making myself ill." No, she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window. (DiYanni, 2007, p. 40) She was looking out the window at the community, seeing it in a different light. There was something creeping up in her unconscious state. "When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: "Free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes." (DiYanni, 2007, p. 39). Her character then saw beyond that bitter moment, a long procession of years to come that would be her own and she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome."(40) This supports the theory of freedom that she felt. Norma felt this also when she walked to the cliff at Shiloh. Then as it was all taken away by the shock of losing that freedom when her husband walks into the room. He is still alive and the shock was so great that takes the life of her with her weak heart.

The last story is Raymond Carver's story "Cathedral" with the characters, a Blind man, Robert and a Wife and husband with no name. The Wife's character worked as a reader for a blind man Robert in Seattle. She first married a man that was gone all the time in the military, as Leroy was gone as a trucker driver. She could not manage her life and she tried to take it because of the loneliness. Therefore, see called her friend and she continued to communicate with to the blind man with tapes like a diary. She wrote poems about the important events in her life. She tried to share this with her husband, but her husband managed to brush it off as disinterested. Leroy did the same thing when Norma tried to talk to her husband about her job. Her husband's character is similar to Leroy's because of the lack of interest in their wife's pass. Robert comes to visit and sees his wife in a new light with her laughing with him as they did in the pass. Husband does not understand and has pity for the blind man not ever being able to see his own wife before her passing. Then as the night goes on, a Cathedral was on the TV and Robert teaches the husband a lesson on it. He asked him to describe it. "I stared hard at the shot of the cathedral on the TV. How could I even begin to describe it? But say my life depended on it." (463) The husband could not describe it well, but when Robert told him to close his eyes and see it, then draw it, it changed the views and ways of the husband. "His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now." (465) this is how the in the individual characters' has changed with just a hint of review, of what it is like to be the other character for a minute.

Indeed while this essay showed the Element of literature by describing these stories focusing on its similarities of the characters in each story, with the three character elements they have in common, they all have a wife, husband and another person involved. The community or environments that take place are the similarities in how the time passes by. by comparing the marriages in "Cathedral"(455) with that of Leroy and Norma’s marriage in Mason’s "Shiloh" (67)and Kate Chopin's story, "The Story of an hour' (38), they all have gone on with Life doing the things that is expected of them, instead of what makes them happy.

Did you ever wonder what you have missed as time passes by? Did you grow or did you just stand still as the simpler things in life pass you by. The greatest things in life are the simpler things that past you by everyday that you miss. As Truck-driver flies past the scenery, you have to stop and take the time to examine the smaller things in life. You have to work hard to make the history within a log cabin and not just past by the scenery of the logs itself.