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 narrator disliked the idea of the blind man Robert coming over to his house. At the beginning of the story, he is being sarcastic about Robert because he is blind. As the story progresses the narrator begins to enjoy Robert’s company. Finally, at the end of the story he learns something from the experience with Robert. Through the narrator’s character, Raymond Carver is suggesting that an individual should always keep an open mind because one can learn something from an experience even when unexpected.
Many times throughout the story, the narrator is sitting on the couch, drinking, or watching television. Before the blind man comes, the narrator says, “With nothing to do but wait...I was having a drink and watching the TV…” (Carver, 143). Then, after dinner is over, he excuses himself and leaves to watch TV in the living room. The narrator is constantly getting drinks throughout the story. In fact, there are seven times that the narrator fixes drinks for himself and Robert.
In the beginning of the story, he was harsh and unloving towards his wife’s blind friend, although by the end he was compassionate and sympathetic to the blind man. At the beginning of “The Cathedral” the narrator is deemed as a non-loving, bad-mannered, and insensitive man, although one evening spent with the blind man
The narrator struggles with accepting the lack of love in the relationship and still finding gratification with his past. The scene ends with “a dead boy” that Ray “cradles him gently as though the boy weights nothing, a baby” (My Father Running with a Dead Boy 448). The image of a baby alludes to the narrator’s adolescence and even innocence. The narrator longs to be carried and comforted by his father like the dead boy. The scene reveals the pain and sorrow that the narrator felt during his childhood and his desire to find peace with the past.
In the short story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the seemingly judgmental narrator is faced with meeting a blind man named Robert. The narrator sees himself as superior to others and, in this instance, especially to the blind. Due to the narrator’s pretentious attitude, tension between the blind and himself is revealed when he says, “[m]y idea of blindness came from the movies” (279). In Carver’s short story “Cathedral”, the tension between literal and metaphorical blindness is most evident through the narrator’s insensitivity and bitterness towards the blind man. The character of the narrator progresses from a closed minded individual to someone who can look outside of his own perspective.
Later, they encounter a man they refer to as a bad character and his girlfriend. The narrator knocks out the bad character and sexually assault the girlfriend. After, they see people coming towards them. They begin to hide. The narrator jumps in Greasy Lake and finds a dead body.
Even if the world has stopped caring, the narrator is there to remember everything and maybe that’s where the regret comes from. The narrator may feel that what she “hasn’t done” is act as an adequate guardian, that she hasn’t remembered everything that made her mother the mom she knew and loved. That doubt could create the wound she talks about in the last line which
The narrator feels envious of his wife’s marriage with her childhood friend. The narrator talks about his wife to the blind man all through the story. He doesn't look to be happy and he is not open-minded at all. From the beginning of the story the narrator has an unfriendly identity. He is jealous of his wife's friendship with the blind man.
The son, however, does not tell him this because he realizes the toll life has taken on his father. After this the father begins to question the narrator what he has been up to, such as his school life, and while the narrator does respond, his father never talks about what the narrator wants to talk about. As the narrator prepares to leave his father gives him two gifts, a rifle and various kinds of books his father spent his time collecting, since his wife told him that the narrator liked books. The story ends with the narrator experiencing conflicting emotions on whether he should forgive his father or continue being angry at him.