Cathedral By Raymond Carver Analysis

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Raymond Carver wrote the interesting short story, “Cathedral” about a blind man who can ‘see’ and the narrator, a man who has his sight, but is blind. The narrator is the protagonist in Carver’s story and is seen as a terrible communicator. Carver purposely has the character start off in a bad place and end up in a better one. The author characterizes the narrator and uses the plot of the story to show the concept that someone can have all senses and still be disconnected from reality and not understanding of their surroundings.
For most of the story, the narrator is characterized as arrogant, out of touch with reality, and insensitive. The story starts off with the narrator telling readers how his wife has a blind friend who is coming to
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The blind man’s wife had recently died and that’s why he was coming to visit. The narrator thought it was absurd that he was able to have a wife, he says it “ was beyond my understanding” (11). He even said how he started to feel sorry for the blind man for a minute then he began to think about the predicament the wife was in, and only the narrator thought was a bad situation. With him not trying to see the deeper effect they might’ve had on each other, he says, “And then I found myself thinking what a pitiful life this woman must have led. Imagine a woman who could never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one” (11). Just because Robert wasn’t able to physically see his wife, the narrator believed that he wasn’t able to make his wife happy any other way rather than complimenting her looks. He fails to look beyond the surface and thinks that being able to see is everything. This is why he doesn’t know his wife as well as he should. The narrator’s wife always made tapes about events going on in her life and sent them to the blind man who always listened and sent a tape back. The narrator says, “She wanted to talk. They talked. He asked her to send him a tape and tell him about her life. She did this” (3). The narrator’s wife seems to tell the blind man more about herself and her life than she…show more content…
He seems special because he communicates with others creatively and has an understanding of his surroundings more than anyone else. At the end of the story, after the narrator’s wife fell asleep, Robert and the narrator were talking and the narrator asks him if he wanted to smoke with him. Robert agreed in trying it. Robert had never smoked cannabis before so when the wife asked Robert about it, he says, “I do now, my dear. There’s a first time for everything. But I don’t feel anything yet” (8). Robert was quick to try new things & that shows him being different, as the narrator stated earlier in the story he had read that blind people don’t smoke also. Robert being able to take in the surroundings around him allows him to have a better understanding of everything, making him ‘see’. The same happens when Robert asks the narrator to draw the cathedral. The narrator wasn’t expecting that because he knows Robert can’t physically see. While drawing, the narrator says, “The blind man felt around over the paper. He moved the tips of the fingers over the paper… Doing fine, the blind man said” (13). Robert later makes the narrator feel over the paper and the narrator describes it like “nothing else in my life up to now”() Robert shows both his creative communication skills and him being different than the stereotypical blind
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