American Literary Minimalism is an important yet largely misunderstood movement. Even though a number of scholars have attempted to describe the mode, it remains poorly defined. Part of the problem is that the roots of the tradition have not been thoroughly explored. The aim of this essay is to examine how Literary Impressionism, a style practiced by authors such as Anton Chekhov and Stephen Crane near the turn of the century, shaped the aesthetic of one of the most prominent practitioners of American Minimalism, Raymond Carver. “Cathedral,” perhaps Carver’s most important short story, illustrates the nexus between the modes. The unnamed narrator objectively reports past sensory experiences, an action common in Impressionistic works, but like many Minimalist protagonists is ultimately unable to articulate the significance of the events he describes.