Looking Vs. Seeing In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Cathedral Analysis Looking vs. Seeing Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind? Some would think of being blind as a disability. Have you ever interacted with someone who is blind? How would you talk to him? In “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the narrator has trouble with connecting with Robert because he is blind. The narrator is unable to see a deeper level than the superficial. Robert ends up teaching the narrator that there is a difference between “looking” and “seeing” and that “seeing” is much more work, and gives much more information than just “looking”. The narrator is the character that is most affected by the encounter with Robert. He is not a good person nor a bad person, he goes to his 9-5 job, comes home sits…show more content…
As they draw the cathedral together, “I put in windows with arches. I drew flying buttresses. I hung great doors. I couldn’t stop”(Carver, 42). This transformation of simply drawing what a cathedral looks like, to imagining actually hanging the doors means that the narrator is seeing the cathedral for what it is, instead of its superficial features. He is beginning to create the cathedral instead of simply replicating the physical aspects. Robert tells him to put people in it saying “What’s a cathedral without people?” (Carver, 42) By adding the people who give the cathedral meaning, the narrator is discovering deeper value in the building, he is actually seeing the cathedral for all its value for the first time. The story ends with Robert telling the narrator to look at what he has created. The narrator has made something with meaning, and not just a simple drawing. He says, “My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything” (Carver, 42). This comment from the narrator shows that he is starting to rethink his surroundings. He realizes that if he doesn’t associate meaning with the things in his life such as his wife, or his home, then there is no connection with them, no point to maintaining relationships or valuing his
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