This paper will provide a brief explanation on why humans have a great tendency to be creative and impulsive in creating art. This presumption will be based on the readings that have been used for class. Although not greatly thorough in it is depth and breadth in its analysis, Raymond Carver’s Cathedral and Emily Dickinson’s I died for Beauty are but an infinitesimal example on how humans have always had great capabilities in creating whatever it is they put their minds into. The Possibilities of Change and Creation: An Essay on the Human’s Impulse to Create Art
To Live. That is one of Man’s most basic instinct. This is so intrinsic that one of the last taboos of the modern world is the acceptance of self-annihilation. Robert, the main protagonist in Carver’s Cathedral is more than just an ignorant man, he is the kind that couldn’t even bear to name the blind man who was his house guest. Compare him to the speaker in Dickinson’s I Died for Beauty, who has “scarcely adjusted herself” when she befriends the man who had died for truth. These two very dead people are more alive than the whiskey-sipping Robert.
But there is the inevitable change, of the possibility of change: “I dwell in Possibility– /A fairer House than Prose– /More numerous of Windows– /Superior–for Doors—” (Dickinson, 1886, p. 926). It is this possibility, this impulse of life that makes us different from the written lives that we are constantly made to read. Give any child a pen and a paper, regardless of its ability to write, it will surely know as if by instinct that the pen is used to create something on paper.
This same child with its impulse to throw or to taste plastic blocks will also surely put one block on top of the other, to form something even a shape crooked and unstable. It is a genetic imprint in us, and will remain in us as long as we live—because, that possibility exists. Moreover, as Dickinson had equated Truth and Beauty, those two noble purposes of artistic creation – this is Man surpassing time and death. To create is to leave a testament to our existence that we are reading the words of long-dead people attest to the supremacy of creation over time and death.
Robert, dead-like in his ignorance and inarticulacy, and the other man, blind but seeing the possibilities of life—together these two men who are temporarily brought together by death (the blind man’s wife) are drawn to create a Cathedral. The cathedral, that massive structure of faith, stone and of the ego that Robert is unable to describe to the man but with whom now he is able to draw with – that pen and paper drawing of that idea: “So we kept on with it.
His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now” (Carver, 1984, p. 455). For until that time that we could do something on our own, even if it is riding our own bike or making our first lopsided ashtray, we are but half-alive. We to have these cathedrals in our minds, and as long as the moss has not covered our lips, “The spreading wide my narrow Hands/To gather Paradise—” (Carver, 1984, p. 455), we too are free to the possibilities of life.
And with life is creation—with small fidgety fingers, we can still tap that subway tune or doodle in Chemistry class. We can still look at the sky with flight in our minds. It is life. References Carver, R. (1984). Cathedral. Ed. R. DiYanni. Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. (p. 455) Dickinson, E. (1886). I Died For Beauty. Ed. R. DiYanni. Literature, Reading Fiction, Poetry, And Drama. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. (p. 926)