Symbolism In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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There is a significant theme of “Cathedral”: a narrator who is ignorant to blindness while being oblivious to his own limitations in sight. While the narrator can physical see with his eyes but does not realize the limitations he has placed on himself, and how those hinder him from seeing or wanting anything better in life. Being able to distinguish “the voice we hear (the narrator's) may not be the same as the eyes we see through (the perspective)” (. The story is truly about experiences or existences beyond the limitations of physical things. What Robert has that the narrator lacks is a sight into the wonder of things, the potential for acceptance in humanity, and the desire that can make one truly alive and free even if one is held back…show more content…
Before the narrator draws the cathedral, his world is uncomplicated: he can see, and Robert cannot. But when he attempts to describe the cathedral that’s shown on television, he realizes that Robert will “have to forgive [him], [for he] can’t tell [Robert] what a cathedral looks like” (Carver 41). More important, he decides that the reason he can’t find those words is that “cathedrals don’t mean anything special to [him]” (Carver 41). When he takes the time to draw the cathedral he has to really think about it and vision it in his mind. He then finds himself really envisioning the cathedral, adding details and people to make the picture come to life and even drawing some of it with his eyes closed. When the drawing is finished, the narrator keeps his eyes closed, yet what he sees is more important than anything he’s ever seen with his eyes open. There is no specific explanation about what the narrator realizes, but the narrator says he “didn’t feel like [he] was inside anything” (Carver 42), he just suggests he’s reached an epiphany. Just as a cathedral offers a place for the religious to worship and find condolence, the narrator’s drawing of a cathedral has opened a door for him into a deep-seated area in his own world, where he can see beyond what is immediately
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