In “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the narrator struggles with an internal conflict that involves him never being able to be in a vulnerable or sensitive state, especially when he is with his wife. The narrator creates suspense by having the reader wait until the end to realize what the blind man was referring to when he states, “From all you’ve said about him, I can only conclude—” (Carver 35). The reader can observe that the blind man was explaining that the husband was missing out on all aspects of life and the little things the world has to offer. The husband was so closed-minded, that he was missing out on having a deeper connection with his wife.
Everyone has their own sight, literally and figuratively. No one sees a certain situation exactly the same as another and it seems to be human nature to accept that one's own view is the correct one. This closed mindedness is seen through the first person narration in Raymond Carver's Cathedral. In this short story, the narrator claims a viewpoint with little to no knowledge and creates a barrier between the reader and the depths of who the blind man really is. The narrator exemplifies the human nature of closed mindedness through his journey from his metaphorical blindness to his newfound insight.
Carver highlights the narrator’s prejudice in the opening section of the story in order to reveal how the narrator’s bias against blind people in general leads to a preconceived negative opinion on Robert. From the outset, the narrator acknowledges his prejudice by mentioning that his “idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed” (Carver, 1). The narrator’s negative prejudice is not caused by knowing a blind man; rather, it is derived from an external factor, demonstrating how the narrator has formulated an opinion on people he has never met. Consequently, the narrator assumes that Robert will conform to the negative stereotype present in his mind, and is unpleased about Robert’s visit.
The story “The Cathedral” was written by Raymond Carver in 1984. Carver was born in Clatskanie, Oregon on May 25, 1932 and died on August 2, 1988. He was known for writing short stories and poetry. During the 1980s Carver contributed to the revitalization of the American short story. Early on he found a passion in his writing.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of human life. Without communication, we would be a primitive society of wild animals, unable to cooperate and achieve great feats, such as building the Pyramids, landing on the Moon, or organizing a democracy. All people rely on communication to express ideas that motivate positive societal and political change. Yet not everybody communicates in the same way. There are several thousand languages that people speak; there are several hundred thousand people around the world that suffer from disabilities such and blindness or deafness that require special means of communications such as braille or sign language.
The protagonist in Raymond Carver’s essay “Cathedral” is the husband of the wife in the story. From the start he was never too thrilled to be having the blind man stay with him in his home. He felt uncomfortable and he also had no idea what to expect because he had never been around a blind man before. After his wife falls asleep the man seems to slowly start to have a more open mind when it comes to the blind man. They start to talk and connect.
The renowned author, Raymond Carver, utilizes dramatic and situational irony throughout his short stories, Cathedral, Neighbors, and They’re not your husband. Carver is well known for using different types of irony to allure the reader. In Cathedral, and They 're not your husband situational irony is amply evident. Situational irony is when the opposite of what is expected to happen, occurs. However, in Neighbors, dramatic irony is prevalent.
Both stories represent different interpretations of blindness/reality vs. expectations concepts of the relationships between real life and ideas in similar ways. In both “Cathedral” and “Araby” the authors tell stories about how people make their own judgments in their own mind that different from reality. In the story "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, the narrator is not blind but he never looked at his wife’s need as being her childhood sweetheart. “Over the years, she put all kinds of stuff on tapes and sent the tapes to the blind man including about her divorce” (Carver 138). This shows the husband’s being blind, not knowing his wife very well.
Conflict, defined as the opposition of two or more forces, remains the key ingredient in great stories. Conflict can be conveyed through an internal or external source, as well as one of these following forms: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. supernatural, and man vs. himself. In Raymond Carver’s short story, Cathedral, the conflict is clearly man vs. himself. The narrator severely lacks sensitivity and can best be described as self-centered, superficial, and egotistical. While his actions certainly speak to these points, his misunderstanding of the people and relationships presented to him in this story present his biggest flaw.
In the world of literature, stories are often released for the purpose of social commentary or even to reflect on the authors past in a that its similar to an autobiography. Raymond Carver is a unique author often creating short stories that are of his own personal life through fictional characters that embody the turmoil he has gone through and social commentary on social issues. This is seen especially in his 1981 short story, Cathedral with a revised version being released in 1983, but we are gonna focus on the 1981 original. Cathedral’s plot centers around a blind man named Robert who after his wife dies, he lives with his departed wife’s friend who soon alongside her husband, helps teach Robert to learn a new way of seeing. The plot of the story while simple, is very complex under the surface, being a plot that is about three people who is dependent on each other and the connection that develops.
"Cathedral" a story about a man who is annoyed with his wife's old friend that is blind, but ends up teaching him a new way of viewing life. “Walk a mile in my shoes, see what I see, hear what I hear, feel what I feel, THEN maybe you'll understand why I do what I do, 'till then don’t judge me.” The advice to “walk a mile in someone else's shoes” means before judging someone, you must understand their challenges are in life and what they go though. This is clearly expressed in the story “Cathedral” by the narrator himself.