Raymond Carver's Use Of Humor In Cathedral

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How would you describe a cathedral to a person who would never be able to see one? In Raymond Carver’s Cathedral, the narrator has to find a solution to this question. The narrator meets his wife’s blind friend, Robert, dreading the rest of the evening. He is constantly surprised by Robert who fails to meet his expectations about blind people, and after an evening not sure how to act around Robert, the narrator turns the television on. A late-night program about cathedrals is on. The narrator, realizing Robert cannot see the pictures of cathedrals on the screen attempts to describe what a cathedral looks like. However, he finds himself unable to find the words to properly describe one, so Robert suggests drawing one together, and by sharing this experience with Robert, the narrator finally understands Robert’s world and how it is not much different than his own. Through this story, Carver uses humor to show the character traits of the narrator and enhance his relationship with his other wife and Robert, and by doing this creates more realistic, in-depth character. At the beginning of this short story, the narrator introduces his relationship with his wife, her relationship with Robert, and their backstory. Immediately the narrator’s tone is full of an absurd amount of jealousy. He described how when his wife quit working for Robert, he touched “every part of…show more content…
His jealousy, his prejudice against blind people, and his sense of humor are presented in absurd ways, allowing him to be a realistic and flawed character in an enjoyable way. The narrator’s relationship with his wife and Robert are also made more realistic through Carver’s use of humor. It also allows the reader to see the changes in the narrator’s character as he becomes less standoffish towards Robert and finally begins to understand and relate to
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