The “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, begins with a seemingly “normal” husband is about to come to grips with an old “blind” friend of his wife. As the story progress the reader finds out just the opposite. Throughout the story the reader sees, by his words and actions, that the husband does not “see” or understands what Robert’s (the friend) blindness means, He cannot understand how changed or did not change him as a human. In the beginning of the story Robert seemingly makes the husband feel very uncomfortable, he does not know what to say or how to act around a blind person. “His being blind bothered me” is said by the husband early on.
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.
Symbolic Blindness Sometimes insecurities cause people to judge others or criticize based on assumptions and not see things as they truly are. In the short story “Cathedral” the author Raymond Carver describes a narrator that is sarcastic and critical of his wife’s blind friend that is coming for a visit. Putting yourself in another person’s shoes opens up a whole new way of looking at things. The narrator is not very open to meeting his wife’s friend Robert because he has never known or be around anyone blind before. He states his “idea of blindness came from the movies”.
Carver highlights the narrator’s prejudice in the opening section of the story in order to reveal how the narrator’s bias against blind people in general leads to a preconceived negative opinion on Robert. From the outset, the narrator acknowledges his prejudice by mentioning that his “idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed” (Carver, 1). The narrator’s negative prejudice is not caused by knowing a blind man; rather, it is derived from an external factor, demonstrating how the narrator has formulated an opinion on people he has never met. Consequently, the narrator assumes that Robert will conform to the negative stereotype present in his mind, and is unpleased about Robert’s visit.
Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” illustrates how the lack of one of the five senses, such as sight, does not always equate to a limited view of the world. Despite Robert’s inability to see physical world, he has the ability to relate to people on an intimate level and gain a deeper understanding of who they truly are even though he will never be able to see their physical bodies. The narrator, however, suffers from a metaphorical blindness which prevents him from seeing the world in a more empathetic light. Ironically, it takes a blind man to teach the narrator how to truly see the world. The narrator’s thoughts and actions regarding Robert are influenced by his own preconceived ideas about blind men.
In “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, it is a story about an interaction between the author, the author’s wife, and the wife’s blind friend, Robert. The blind friend was staying the night at the author’s house and he did not like the idea of it, but since it was his wife’s friend he dealt with it. The author gave characteristics to the blind guy and himself. The author assumed that blind people can’t do anything like a normal person does. The author said that “Did you have a good train ride?’ I said.
Brother knows about Doodle’s poor condition and ignores it when he is teaching his crippled brother how to walk. Brother isn’t doing this great act to be kind, he is doing this because he is embarrassed to have a brother with disabilities. “They did not know that I did it for myself, that pride, whose slave I was, spoke to me
However, in Neighbors, dramatic irony is prevalent. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters do not. Dramatic and situational irony appear throughout a few of Carver’s numerous remarkable short stories. 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 to be able to see more than the blind man, but ironically this is not the case.
In Neighbors and They’re Not Your Husband, dramatic and situational irony are both utilized. Readers can appreciate the subtly placed examples of dramatic and situational irony throughout the works of Carver. Cathedral by Raymond Carver is the narrative of a blind man, Robert, who visits a husband and wife in their home for the
“I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And being blind bothered me” (104) The narrator has no knowledge of experiencing seeing a blind person. “My idea of blindness came from the movies” (104). With this, readers could sense that the narrator is jealous, grouchy, and angry that Robert’s presence affects the narrator’s wife because of the connection between both the wife and Robert.