Characterization And Symbolism In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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In Raymond Carvers, short story titled “Cathedral” is about a story of a man (narrator) journey of enlightenment to gain true sight. Through, the creative use of characterization and symbolism Carver is able to bring forth issues regarding materialism. Examples of characterization include, Robert (blind-man) who has the ability to see beyond his physical blindness as well as the narrator who isn’t physically blind but lacks true sight and his wife who has obtained true sight. In the begging of the story, Carver provides exposition on Robert and the wife’s connection which renders a moment of crisis for the narrator, her husband. At first the character of the narrator seems static and flat, but as his journey of enlightenment develops he is…show more content…
In Carver’s story, the narrator embodies that representation of society and his journey to illumination. However, as a society we resist change, much like the narrator who represents his early discontent with Robert who is an embodiment of everything he isn’t. As expressed in his quote “And his being blind bothered me… A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (Carver 265). Furthermore, Carver reflects on the false sources of knowledge and our feeble senses that we rely on to establish judgment. That idea of falsification is seen in the quote “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movie, the blind, moved slowly and never laughed sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs” (Carver 265). Illustrating, societies high regard for the physical ability of seeing in his remark “seeing-eye dogs.” Furthermore, Carver suggests that our reliance on our physical senses, limit us our connection with others as seen in the narrator's relationship with his wife. Additionally, the representation of the eyes as a reflection of one’s soul, mind and heart suggests that be only seeing the physical depiction we create a smoking mirror that doesn’t reflect the truth but the physical view. In Carver’s essay “Cathedral”, the illustration of true sight as something that anyone can reach even without physical sight, exemplifies Carvers questions regarding the value of materialistic value of things including humans rather than the intrinsic
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