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Carvers Cathedral Essay

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Carvers Cathedral

Plato’s “Myth of the Cave” and Carver’s Cathedral provide insight into parallel words. The protagonists in each story are trapped in a world of ignorance because each is comfortable in the dark, and fearful of what knowledge a light might bring. They are reluctant to venture into unfamiliar territory. Fortunately the narrator in the Cathedral is forced by circumstances to take a risk. This risk leads him into new world of insight and understanding.

The narrator in “The Cathedral” begins the story with the issue of hesitation in seeing the light. The light in this story just like the light in Plato’s “Myth of the Cave” represents reality. The narrator expresses the fear of expressing reality when he said “ I wasn’t
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The fire and the shadow provided the only reality for them. This was their source of knowledge and their source of contact with the world. For these people their “cave life” and their ignorance created a world worse than the blind man’s.

Unknown to the prisoners in the cave an elevated causeway crosses through the cave. The prisoners do not know where this road will lead them. In Carver’s “Cathedral”, the narrator did not realize that the blind man was in his “causeway” out of ignorance. He did not realize that the simple act of his wife inviting the blind guest would lead to major new discoveries about himself and his ignorance. The narrator’s wife has been exposed to knowledge, which is what Robert represents in this story, for many years. She was more aware of the world because of her relationship with Robert. This exposure was instrumental in presenting her husband with a learning opportunity. Her husband was given the opportunity to see the light. This was territory into which he would have never ventured on his own. His fears from his own cave prevented such risky behavior. This was opportunity for him to learn, grow, and develop in a myriad of ways. He would gain in his relationship with his wife. He would gain new insights about himself, and most of all he would gain knowledge that would pull him out of his own cave. The narrator saw the blind man “drink” and ‘smoke cigarette down to the nubbin”. He saw the blind man
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