A Blind Man’s Gift in Carver’s Cathedral Essay

891 Words 4 Pages
A Blind Man’s Gift in Cathedral

In Raymond Carver’s story, "Cathedral," one man’s prejudice is overcome by another man’s gift. The husband in the story is given the gift of seeing a cathedral through a blind man’s eyes. The true gift comes from the cathedral, which represents the husband’s prejudice and the blind man’s open-mindedness. This gift is the revelation the husband experiences while he "looks" at the cathedral with his eyes still closed.

According to Anatole Broyard "Cathedral" is "a lovely piece about a blind man who asks an acquaintance to guide his hand in sketching a cathedral he has never seen. At the end, the two hands moving together—one guided by the other—come to seem a gesture of fraternity" (101). The
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. . . The story is about learning how to imagine and feel" (103). Because Robert is so open and so understanding, he teaches the husband to imagine and to feel like a blind man. The husband looses his prejudice through the drawing of the cathedral because Robert guides him, not because he guides Robert.

Robert’s being open to new things impresses the husband, and this is evident when the husband and Robert smoke cannabis together. As the story progresses, the husband gradually becomes more comfortable with Robert and forgets his preconceived notions about him. The climax of the story comes in the end when the husband experiences a revelation about what it is like to be a blind man. Seeing is believing, or in this case, not seeing is believing.

As the husband starts to explain the cathedral he becomes frustrated because this is a totally new experience for him and he does not think he is doing well. Then Robert conveniently says, "Terrific. You’re doing fine. Never thought anything like this could happen in your lifetime, did you, bub? Well, it is a strange life, we all know that. Go on now. Keep it up" (Carver 1061). Robert comforts the husband, and he inspires the husband to be open to new things just as Robert himself is.

During the story, the husband reveals "his own realm of darkness" when he admits to Robert, "I guess I’m agnostic or something" (Johnson 282). The husband realizes that he too is blind in a way. He is blind to
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