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.
Readers can appreciate the subtly placed examples of dramatic and situational irony throughout the works of Carver. Cathedral by Raymond Carver is the story about a blind man, Robert, who visits a husband and wife in their home. One would expect the husband
The protagonist in Raymond Carver’s essay “Cathedral” is the husband of the wife in the story. From the start he was never too thrilled to be having the blind man stay with him in his home. He felt uncomfortable and he also had no idea what to expect because he had never been around a blind man before. After his wife falls asleep the man seems to slowly start to have a more open mind when it comes to the blind man. They start to talk and connect.
In the world of literature, stories are often released for the purpose of social commentary or even to reflect on the authors past in a that its similar to an autobiography. Raymond Carver is a unique author often creating short stories that are of his own personal life through fictional characters that embody the turmoil he has gone through and social commentary on social issues. This is seen especially in his 1981 short story, Cathedral with a revised version being released in 1983, but we are gonna focus on the 1981 original.
“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.
Characterized as a social place where people meet, the cathedral becomes a symbol of the husband's ability to overcome his loneliness and his inability to communicate. The last few sentences of the story paint a picture of someone coming to the realization that being blind can be more than just a physical limitation. A person can be blinded to the feelings of others and the problems that can affect our everyday life, yet through interaction and tolerance an individual can find both themselves and an awareness for people around
When Robert and the husband are drawing the Cathedral there’s a connection between them that is much different than when they first met. The husband is beginning to realize what it’s like not being able to see and having to feel everything. When he first tries to draw the Cathedral he can’t. The Cathedral has no meaning towards him. When he closes his eyes he gets a feel for the Cathedral when Robert guides his hand and he begins to understand the meaning of having to feel things.
Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is narrated by a man who is unhappy that his wife is friends with a blind man. He has not ever known any blind people in his life and he has many ill conceived conceptions about them and how they perceive the world. The narrator unfolds the story slowly to show his own lack of perception with regard to his wife and the world around him. He comes to realize that perhaps the man that cannot see with his eyes can “see” reality better than he can.
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.
Raymond Carver is said to be one the most influential American writers and poets in the 20th century, especially in his works of short stories. One of his most famous pieces is “Cathedral.” This well-known short story is the final piece in Carver’s collection Cathedral published in 1983. Carver includes much symbolism through the story’s plot, structure, point of view, tone, and character build. The depictions of each character’s experiences, the irony in the story, and hearing the narrator’s point of view in “Cathedral” work in harmony to support its themes that prejudice and ignorance as well as the nature of reality are present and change throughout the course of the story, and all lead to a strong character development by the close.
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.
“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.
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.
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
Naturally, those who communicate differently or are different from other people in general are prone to stereotypes and widespread discrimination. Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” is a critique of and a unique story regarding the untruth of many of those stereotypes surrounding the visually impaired. Acceptance of people different from ourselves because of spoken language or disability is pertinent to understanding their lives and the world we live in, and through my personal experiences, I now understand that to the fullest extent. The theme of tolerance within the context of language and communication barriers rings loudly in Robert and the narrator’s encounter in “Cathedral”, my personal relationship to my late aunt, and my experience being the son of an immigrant, all of them teaching that those that are blind, or