In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” we are introduced to a narrator who tries to make it very clear to the reader that because he can physically see, he is better than the blind man, Robert. However, as we continue through the narrator’s interactions with Robert, it is shown that the narrator is actually quite blind to the world until Robert shows him otherwise. That is to say, the narrator can physically look at things around him, but lacks the kind of seeing that entails looking at things on a deeper level of engagement. This is the kind of seeing that allows Robert to truly see and understand things at a deeper level that the narrator would be oblivious to, such as his wife’s feelings, or even his own emotions. We get a clear vision about …show more content…
They’re built of stone. Marble, too, sometimes.” (111) Though the narrator is aware that Robert is blind, he describes the Cathedral as if he were talking to someone who could look at it as well. Likewise, instead of describing things that can be seen only by looking closer, such as the fine details of the cathedral, he describes it as if it were a giant boulder. As the narrator continues he moves away from describing the structure when he says, “In the olden days, when they built cathedrals, men wanted to be close to …show more content…
Although Robert is blind, he is very attuned to that deeper level of seeing that closely resembles what having faith is like. Likewise, he sees things others, such as the narrator cannot, and has great wisdom that we see has helped the narrator’s wife. Robert is trying to help the narrator begin to see on that deeper level when he says, “That’s all right, bub,” the blind man said. “Hey listen. I hope you don’t mind my asking you…. But let me ask if you are in any way religious? You don’t mind me asking?” (112) Robert acknowledges that the narrator is trying, but Robert is also trying to help him dig deeper within himself and see things that he would usually push to the wayside. By asking if the narrator is religious, Robert is trying to get the narrator to see that his way of looking is one-dimensional. That is, the narrator relies heavily on the principle of “what you see is what you get”, similar to people who say if they cannot see God then they cannot believe in God. Consequently, this way of looking at the world continues to inhibits the narrator’s perception of the world around
“Cathedral” published in 1983 by Raymond Carver talks about a husband’s change of attitude. I went into detail on the husband’s character changing throughout the story by describing his behavior and actions and focusing on the husband’s comments towards Robert. I also talked about how Robert and the wife do not go into detail talking about the husband because Raymond Carver wants you to fill in the blanks on what you think the husband’s personality is. The husband’s character is easier to understand after he has a couple drinks and is faced with Robert one on one while watching a documentary series on Cathedrals.
The narrator finally understands how Robert can love a woman or even just eat dinner being blind, since looking is not as important as he once thought. The townspeople were also just as wrong about Miss. Emily. When Emily dies, the townspeople are let into
“His being blind bothered me” (Carver 1). In Raymond Carver’s short story Cathedral, Carver establishes an ignorant narrator, who is dependent on alcohol and fixated upon physical appearance; he juxtaposes the narrator to a blind man who sees with his heart rather than his eyes. Through indirect characterization, Carver contrasts the narcissistic narrator to the intuitive blind man while utilizing sight as a symbol of emotional understanding. He establishes the difference between looking and seeing to prove that sight is more than physical.
Robert literally can’t see, but he does obtain vision only on a deeper level. The narrator isn’t too enamored with the idea of another man coming to his home. He is insensitive and makes some harsh comments that make Robert feel a little uncomfortable. Due to his callous and unsympathetic personality, the narrator is never able to connect with his wife while Robert is instantly able to. Robert comes to visit the narrator and his wife at their home for the first time.
Robert Ross’s journey throughout the novel leaves him unable to recognize his reflection, expecting to see the image of a god, he sees the image of a scarecrow. Findley writes, “He’d thought he would stand and see himself like a god in the glass—and there he was: a scarecrow” (Findley169). Findley portrays Robert’s moment of blindness as a connection to the changes he undergoes throughout the novel. Robert at this point in unable to recognize himself as the young boy he started off as or the hero he wanted to become. Instead, the war strips his character and left him feeling as if he has no connection to who he used to be, truthfully, he isn’t and in this scene Robert understands this.
The unnamed narrator does not see Robert, the blind man, as a person, but as someone different. The grandmother, on the other hand, believes in her appearance and belief that is better than other people. After the challenges they both face, they end up finding enlightenment. In “Cathedral,” the narrator was not certain on how to describe the Cathedral to Robert. The narrator resorts to drawing and with a pen in his hand, he had realized that Robert “closed his hand over my hand” and asks the narrator to “close your eyes” as they drew the Cathedral (75-76).
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.
(Pg. 32) When trying to describe what a cathedral looked like to the blind man the husband is struggling. But the real reason he can not describe the Cathedral is because it has no meaning to him because he admits he is not religious. After drawing the Cathedral and “feeling” the movement this opened a door in his mind and made it visible. Robert, the wife, and the husband all gain insight through the drawing of the Cathedral.
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” written in 1983, the author points out that empathy and perspective are the only way to truly experience profound emotion. The narrator is struggling is sucked into his own comfort zone, he drowns his dissatisfaction on life, marriage, and job in alcohol. A man of limited awareness breaks through his limitations by socializing with a blind man. Despite Roberts physical limitations, he is the one who saved narrator from himself and helped him to find the ones vies of the world.
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.
Furthermore, the narrator is starting to realize that he enjoys Robert’s company as well as compelled to explore Robert’s eye sight limits, to help Robert visualize a cathedral. The narrator tries to describe a cathedral, but failed to do so, and retreats back into cynicism. The narrator’s response Robert’s question was, “the truth is, cathedrals don’t mean anything special to me. Nothing cathedrals.
After a small introduction when the two characters first meet, the narrator recognizes that he “didn’t know what else to say” (Carver, 4), signifying his inability in connecting with Robert. A reason behind the trouble in connecting is discussed in “Literary Analysis of Cathedral” by Niwar A. Obaid, where he writes “The narrator’s apparently judgmental and doubtful tone… [set] a difficult attitude once the blind man and the narrator actually meet”. Obaid lists the narrator’s tone as one of the primary reasons why the narrator is reluctant to get to know Robert better. Since the narrator’s tone is caused by his prejudices, as previously shown, one can infer from Obaid’s writing that the real reason behind the narrator’s reluctance to form a relationship is his prejudice against the blind. Later in the story, Carver juxtaposes Robert’s readiness to learn more about the narrator to the narrator’s initial refusal to develop a relationship to Robert.
The author use of the title “Cathedral” was misleading at first. “Cathedral” is about a husband who had an interesting experience with his wife’s blind friend. The narrator, also known as the husband, had difficulty understanding other people thoughts and personal feelings. The narrator knew how important the blind man is to his wife, yet he still makes careless jokes about him. “Maybe I could take him bowling” was a comment made by the narrator after finding out that the blind man was staying over his house.
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” he writes a story about a husband's journey to his epiphany. Robert, a blind man, teaches the husband how to see without his eyes. Often a person with the ability to see takes this for granted, leaving them only to see what is on the outside rather than seeing people, and things for what they really are. In this short story, Carver conveys the narrators epiphany through the symbol of the cathedral. Carver develops a story with symbolism throughout his story, beginning with the first line, “This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s
“Cathedral” is a short and warm story written by Raymond Carver. The author portrays the story in the first person narrative. Carver presents the interaction between an unnamed couple and a blind man by the name of Robert, who is visiting them. The story is told by the husband, the narrator, who is a prejudiced, jealous, and insecure man with very limited awareness of blindness. This theme is exposed through Carver’s description of the actions of the narrator whose lack of knowledge by stereotyping a blind man.