An old friend of the narrator "Robert,'' is the blind man in the story. When the sighted man tries to explain what a cathedral is like to the blind man, his words fail. One man relies on vision to communicate, the other does not. It was like they spoke different languages. At the end of the story when the narrator says "My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. But I didn't feel like I was inside anything"? he means that he could somewhat see what the blind man felt like. Although he was at home he did not feel as if he were because he couldn't see anything with closed eyes. But the narrator noticed the beauty and he felt relieved. At the end of the story the narrator had his hands closed drawing a cathedral. Everything Robert could do
Can a person learn something from communicating with someone else? For some people is difficult to make new friends of just talking to a random person. One might find it unnecessary to make new friends. Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is a story about the narrator, narrator’s wife, and the blind man Robert. The narrator is not happy with Robert coming to stay at his house. Then, Robert comes to his house and they start to get along with each other. Later at night, the narrator and Robert are watching television show about cathedrals. While, they were watching the show Robert tells the narrator to get a piece of paper. Lastly, the narrator and Robert draw a picture of a cathedral together, so Robert can get a better idea of a cathedral. In the
As soon as the narrator gathers the items to create the drawing of the cathedral, the blind man closed his hand over the narrator's hand as the narrator began to draw. The narrator was already able to put himself in the shoes of Robert before drawing, and through drawing the cathedral, he empathized with the blind man to the point where he finally understood how the blind man was able to see without his eyesight. The narrator had finally awakened his true eyesight, and when Robert told him he could open his eyes, the narrator did not open his eyes, because he realized there was no need for him to open his eyes when he could already picture the cathedral he drew within his
Contrasting the narrator, Robert feels love, rather than physically “seeing” it, an emotion the narrator is incapable of. The narrator wonders “who’d want to go to such a wedding in the first place” (Carver 2) considering the wedding consisted of “just the two of them, plus the minister and the minister’s wife” (Carver 2). Instead of viewing marriage as a celebration of the love between two people, he sees marriage as a tangible ceremony focused on physicality. Because of Robert inability to see, the narrator discounts Robert and his wife’s love for each other. Their marriage was “beyond [his] understanding… they’d married, lived and worked together… and then the blind man had to bury her… without his having ever seen what [she] looked like” (Carver 2). Robert loves his wife and views her as his soulmate rather than a body to fill empty space. Robert’s physical blindness does not hold him back from feeling, while the narrator’s emotional lack of sight proves more
They talked of things that had happened to them—to them!…I waited in vain to hear my name on my wife’s sweet lips: ‘And then my dear husband came into my life’—something like that. But I heard nothing of the sort. More talk of Robert” (Carver 422). Through research by four professors, they concluded that “Humans have a fundamental need to form and maintain interpersonal relationships. Circumstances that threaten to thwart the need to belong can elicit a variety of negative reactions, from a loss of meaning in life and depression” (Nicholas et al. 550). The narrator, in his own eyes, has no real meaning. His constant drunkenness shields his depression and in times of silence, the narrator and Robert continue to flush down whiskey, one glass after another. Ala Eddin Saleq makes the point that the “Characters' silence[s] is indicative of their inability to communicate with (each)other, reflect(ing) a recurring theme in Carver's fiction. Often his stories are about discourse itself, ways people communicate or fail to communicate, demonstrating consequences of various modes of discourse” (Sadeq). The silence, like most things in the narrators life, makes him uncomfortable, yet to Robert he seems to be covered with a sense of relaxation and peace, something the narrator longs
Since the beginning of the story, the narrator does not like the idea of having in his house a blind man. He does not know how to socialize with blind people because his idea of blindness came from the movies. He thinks blind people move slowly and they never laugh.
looking and seeing is different. Looking is simply physical vision. In contrast, seeing is being engaged on a deeper level. The narrator shows that he is capable of looking; looking at his wife, Robert, and his house. The narrator is not blind therefore feel superior. The narrator begins to change as Robert taught him to see beyond the surface of looking. The narrator feels enlightened and opens up to a new world of vision and imagination. This brief experience has a long lasting effect on the narrator. Being able to shut out everything around us allows an individual the ability to become focused on their relationships, intrapersonal well-being, and
From the beginning of the novel the narrator shows ignorance and prejudice towards Robert, he is fighting with his own of jealousy and insecurity. Being unhappy with his own life, the narrator sees Robert as a possible threat to his usual evening with pot and TV, without realizing that in order to be satisfied he should step out of his habitual
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. As the story develops, the narrator grows to like Robert, and as the story ends we see the two draw a cathedral together which allows the narrator see a new side of everything and allow for him to be more connected to the blind man and his wife. This plot is commonly seen in many different media’s, but it’s used more cleverly here, as it allows for characters to flow with the story while not sacrificing the story being mediocre. In saying this, the plot of this story is very character-centric and is vital to helping to advance the story.
Robert’s wife has recently died and he used to work for the narrator’s wife. Robert comes to visit the narrator’s home and the narrator is not happy about this because he believes blind people to be miserable and gloomy based solely on what he has absorbed from the movies. At the end of the first paragraph, he says, “A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (1.1). Little to the narrator’s knowledge, his wife and Robert had been using audio tape to correspond over ten years, and have much past history with each other. The narrator’s wife makes sure he knows to make Robert comfortable, and if he doesn’t it shows that he does not love her. “If you love me, she said, you can do this for me. If you don’t love me, okay” (1.7). After dinner and drinks, the narrator’s wife goes upstairs to change, while her husband starts smoking marijuana. Robert joins along for the first time. As the night comes to a close, all three of the characters are sitting on the couch watching television, specifically a documentary on Cathedrals. The narrator curiously asks Robert if he knew how to describe a Cathedral. Unsure, Robert tells him to draw one for him so he can better understand. The narrator puts Robert’s hand on his so that he can feel the motion of him drawing. “He found my hand, the hand with the pen. He closed his hand over mine” (3.30). This very moment is crucial in the story. This shows a shared connection between the two characters, a type of connection that the narrator has never felt with anyone before, one that he is not used to. This also shows a paradox because of the fact that he must close his eyes to be able to
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. Throughout the story the reader can affirm that the wife has a deep, strong relationship with the blind man. The wife and the blind man share an intimate and vulnerable moments together; one includes when she lets him touch her face so he can remember her. Similarly, the narrator gets to share an intimate moment with Robert that leads to an epiphany. The epiphany that the narrator experiences when drawing a cathedral refers to seeing life from Robert, the blind man’s, point of view and seeing the struggles as well as life experiences a blind man must encounter on a daily basis. However, the focal point within the story occurs when the narrator gets to have a vulnerable moment with the blind man that he has never encountered before, and it makes him feel liberated.
Conflict is the essence of any literary fiction. The main goal of an author is to tell a story that keeps the reader interested. At the story’s core, conflict is the momentum of happening and change and is crucial on all levels for delivering information and building characterization as well as building the story itself. Conflict is the source of change that engages a reader and keeps them interested. In a story, conflict and action does what description and telling of feelings and situations do not. Narrated in the first person, Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is bound to unfold due to the thoughts and feelings of one of the main characters, the husband. Expectedly, the conflict revolves around him and the way he responds to the conflict leads
Although the narrator and Robert engaged in small talk following dinner, it is not until the trio smokes marijuana together and his wife falls asleep that the narrator ultimately becomes relaxed with Robert’s presence. Shortly enough, the narrator’s wife falls asleep, leaving the narrator and Robert to turn their attention toward the television showing a program about cathedrals. The narrator begins to describe the program on the television to Robert until he comes to a realization and asks Robert if he truly knows what a cathedral is. Aside from what the program has mentioned, Robert admits, he does not know much of a catheral’s appearance and implores the narrator to describe one. He tries in vain to describe a cathedral to Robert, but his low self-esteem shines through as he continues to apologize to Robert because “[he is] just no good at it” (44). Robert kindly reassures the narrator and ultimately suggests the narrator draws a cathedral on heavy paper for him to feel. As the narrator draws, Robert runs his fingers over the lines, eventually finding the narrator’s hands. Although the narrator’s wife wakes up and asks what the two men are doing, she is ignored. The narrator continues to draw the cathedral with Robert’s hand over his until Robert tells him to close his eyes.
In his contemporary short story, “Cathedral,” Raymond Carver tells the story of an unnamed narrator, his wife, and an old friend, a blind man named Robert. Robert has come to visit the narrator’s wife, who is quite excited to see this man whom she hasn’t seen in ten years, yet the same can’t be said of the narrator who is noticeably and vocally uncomfortable about his visit. The story is told through the narrator’s first person point of view, showcasing his thoughts and the events that take place when Robert comes to visit. Carver highlights the theme of having the ability to see, but not truly seeing, through his use of colloquial language, and creation of relatable characters.
The change the narrator encounters is presented when he decides to stop saying “I” and begins saying “We”. He has given not only Robert some sense of identity but also himself. To add to their bonding is when the narrator’s wife leaves the room allowing the two men to bond without her judging the narrator. Then when the wife comes back into the room she falls asleep and her robe opens open exposing her thigh, and the narrator instead of becoming anxious he realizes Robert cannot see so why close the robe up. The two then begin to watch a documentary about cathedrals and this is where the narrator goes through his final and biggest change. Robert asks him to draw a cathedral so that he can see it, and the narrator does so allowing Robert to place his hand over the narrator’s hand showing a sense of intimacy. This is where the narrator allows himself to completely open his mind to new things.