Blindness is not limited to physical manifestation. In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” the figurative blindness is immediately apparent through the narrator and his shallowness, irrational jealousy, and egotistical personality. His dismissive behavior and ignorance towards the feelings of Robert, his wife’s blind friend, speak negatively of his character and reveals his insecurities. While the narrator’s emotional blindness and Robert’s physical blindness initially inhibits their bond, it eventually leads the narrator to an epiphany and the beginning of a character transformation. The different forms of blindness allow the characters to bond and grow over the course of the story.
In the story “Cathedral”, author, Raymond Carver, show the readers that a person does not need their eyes to see as sight has a deeper meaning for different people. Within the story, the narrator, husband, describe his experience with his wife’s longtime friend Robert, a blind man who came to visit after losing his own wife to cancer. The story takes place in the husband’s home somewhere in the East Coast near Connecticut. As the husband has a drink and waits for his wife’s arrival with Robert, the husband shows an uneasiness about Robert being blind. Upon their arrival, the husband notices how joyful and happy his wife is with Robert and does not understand why. Inside the home, the husband and Robert had a few drinks accompanied with light conversation until dinner where the husband is impressed at how the Robert can describe the foods there are eating. After the dinner, the husband leaves to the couch to watch T.V. The wife and Robert join the husband him shortly after. After the wife falls asleep on the couch, the husband stops on a channel where they speak of Cathedrals and the blind man want him to describe it. Unable to use descriptive word to help Robert see, Robert asks the husband to draw the Cathedral on a paper thick enough so Robert can feel the lines. Robert joins hands with the husband as he draws on the paper and begins to visualize what a cathedral looks like while the husband has an insight on how to see through the eyes of a blind person, so to speak. The
Chartres Cathedral Chartres Cathedral is one of the most significant achievements of all the historical architecture. Additionally, it is entirely preserved with its original details. The unique features of the cathedral are intact, and thus when one visits the place, he or she is likely to encounter the authentic architecture work as it was done many years ago. Chartres Cathedral symbolizes an atmosphere of awe and holiness (Katzenellenbogen, 2). As such, it was built for religious purposes. However, it attracts the nonbelievers as well. As a holy building, it has many glass windows to light the building. Due to its height, a double flying buttresses is used to support the high nave. The cathedral was the first building in history that used buttresses since it was considered as necessary for the peoples’ culture and as a sign of authority. It was built to reflect a symbol of power since the religious leaders engaged in politics too. The cathedral has many statuses that represent the Biblical aspects such as Elijah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, and Simeon (Katzenellenbogen, 9). The standings portray the Christian faith that was used by the architectures while building the cathedral. The interior floor stands thirty-six meters high and is one hundred and twenty-eight meters wide. The sizes show how vital it is and it can host many peoples who visit for religious functions.
By the end of Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," the narrator is a round character because he undergoes development. The story opens with the narrator's unconcern for meeting the blind man, Robert, which is because he was uninvolved in the friendship between the blind man and the narrator's wife. Feeling intimidated, he discloses, "I wasn't enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me" (Carver 1). This emphasizes the narrator's unwillingness to bond with the blind man, which is made visible as the story progresses; moreover, he does not acknowledge their relationship. This is highlighted when he mentions what the name of the blind man's wife was. "Her name was Beulah. Beulah! That's a name for a colored woman. 'Was his wife a Negro?' I asked" (3). He seems disgusted with people. The insensitive narrator's prejudice is evident by him saying, "I've never met, or personally known, anyone who was blind" (5). This statement causes the audience to expect growth in him. The narrator's detachment from the blind man is indicated by his disinterest in cathedrals and tapes; nevertheless, the blind man and the narrator have had dinner, "smoked dope," and drank together,
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” the narrator is seen to show ignorance and bias towards blindness throughout the story, however towards the end he realizes his flaws and the difference between looking and seeing. From the beginning of the story to the end you can see a change within the narrator after his encounter with the blind man. At the end of Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” the narrator hopes to accomplish a change in his understanding of himself, and his experience with Robert flickers this change towards the end of the story.
"Cathedral" is a short story ultimately about enlightment, finding something more meaningful and deeper with in one self. Although from an observing point of view nothing more in the story happens then a blind man assisting the narrator in drawing a cathedral. Although as known, the narrator's experience radically differs
Furthermore, the title of the short story has symbolic representation to the transformation the narrator partakes as the story ends. Specifically, when the narrator begins to explain the cathedral on the TV and is unable to describe it with detail to Robert, shows how blind he is even though he is able to look at the things show in the program. In the short story, Robert suggests to the narrator to work together on drawing a cathedral to better illustrate it. As both hold on to the pen and trace the cathedral unto the piece of paper bag, Robert is able to visualize it in his mind; the narrator, on the other hand, gets to a point in his life where he realizes that he is now able to see, rather than just look at something, and is able to understand its meaning, as he states “it was like nothing else in my life up to now…my eyes were still closed.” Here, the narrator recognizes that even though his eyes were closed, as if he was blind, he is able to tell how immensely and detailed cathedrals are.
Lives are diverse. Every being that passes by on the street, at school, at work, anywhere lives a completely unique life different from any other individual. Each person that one could meet has attended different schools, travelled to different places, and lived under different circumstances; they all pass by in an instant without a second thought or even a passing glance. These several diverse experiences sculpt diverse individuals with diverse thoughts, opinions, dreams, and motives. However, in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” the narrator must converse with an individual that lives an extremely dissimilar life from his own. A blind man, friends with the narrator’s wife and a recent widower, has come to live with the narrator for a while. This sudden change in the narrator’s life does not come easy because of his inherent arrogance and prejudice. Nevertheless, the blind man remains polite and shows the narrator how similar, yet still different their lives are through example as well as an explicit exercise where he holds the narrator’s hands while he draws a cathedral in order to “see” what the cathedral looks like. To assist the reader in fully grasping the impact of this breakthrough in the narrator’s life regarding perspective and various types of human realities, Carver employs a large number of stylistic elements to enhance his writing.
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral”, the short story is told by a character within the story. The first-person point of view gives us a transparent visual of an important time in the narrators’ life. The narrator, who is “un-named” in the beginning of the story, uses blunt, flawless and a particular choice of words. This gives us as the reader a deeper connection with the narrator. The narrator begins this story by taking us through the changes he go through with the uneasy feeling of having a blind-man coming to his house to visit.
Robert and the narrator are watching a television documentary on cathedrals, hence the title, and Robert asks “…maybe you could describe one to me?” (188), because he understands what the purpose of cathedrals is, but he has no idea what they look like. The narrator attempts to describe a cathedral, but he does not know how to “…even begin to describe it.” (188). The cathedral means nothing to him, and he admits to Robert that when it comes to religion: “’I guess I don’t believe in it. In anything. Sometimes it’s hard.’” (189). When Robert suggests that they draw a cathedral together, hand over hand, the narrator becomes nervous and cautious, he is unsure what do. After a little bit, the narrator became more comfortable and “…couldn’t stop” drawing (190). The narrator then closes his eyes to finish off the drawing, and at that moment with Robert, he metaphorically opens his eyes. He does not exactly know what happened, but he knows something positively changed, he felt like “it [was] really something.” (190). He has an out of body experience, “…I didn’t feel like I was inside anything” (190), an epiphany. Carver does not entirely explain the ending or what happens next, but one can be optimistic and assume that Robert changed the narrator for the better, by making him close his eyes to
Similarly to Aylmer in “The Birth-Mark,” the narrator does not ask these obvious questions, questions that might crack him open, but instead remarks, when interrupted while listening to a taped correspondence from the blind man, “I’d heard all I wanted to” (Carver 515). Unlike Aylmer, however, the narrator, after imbibing Scotch and smoking pot, does open up to the blind man after watching a documentary on television about cathedrals. The blind man asks him to describe a cathedral to him. When this task proves difficult, the blind man suggests they draw one together. As the drawing progresses, the blind man asks him to close his eyes and draw. “His fingers rode my fingers as my hand went over the paper. It was like nothing else in my life up to now.” The narrator experienced an epiphany. The tone changes from sarcasm to childlike awe. This ending combines an appeal to pathos and ethos; there is an emotional shift combined with credence gained
The story follows the narrator and his wife who has invited her old friend to stay at their home because his wife has just passed away. The friend, Robert, is blind and the narrator’s wife worked for him as a reader ten years prior. They remained close and kept in touch by sending audiotapes to one another, recounting what was going on in their lives. Robert’s blindness makes the narrator uncomfortable and he does not look forward to his visit, even though it is quite important to his wife. The three spend a somewhat awkward evening together and the narrator become more comfortable with Robert as the night progresses and as his wife falls asleep. The narrator gains some compassion for Robert and attempts to describe what the cathedral on the
The more he interacts with the blind man, the more his defenses and preconceived notions fall away. The narrator asks the blind man if he would like to smoke marijuana with him, during this Robert acknowledges his preconceived ideas by assuming the blind man smokes when he does not. Robert says, “I thought I knew that much and that much about blind people” (Carver, 187). Here, he must acknowledge he is previous notion was incorrect, and that is the furthest step we have yet to see the narrator take. The blind man staying up with him that evening shows him reaching out and attempting to help Robert evolve. As the blind man says “I am always learning something. Learning never ends” (Carver, 188). This represents Roberts learning and growing as a person. The true transformation is depicted through the describing of the Cathedral. Robert attempts two times to describe a cathedral but cannot find the words or description to it justice. The blind man leads him to draw it and made him close his eyes. Now Robert is seeing in a new way. No longer through his eyes, but from within. Robert describes this as “like nothing else in my life up to now” (Carver, 190). Together, one man eyes closed trying to see from within, one man blind but able to see from within, they draw the Cathedral. Robert kept his eyes closed for a long time after this. As he points out, “ my eyes were still closed” and “ I thought I ‘d keep them that way for a little longer” (Carver, 190 ). When the story finishes, Robert says “I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything” (Carver, 190). He had come to see in a new
Carver’s short story “Cathedral” is about a man and a woman who are married. The woman’s blind friend Robert, whose wife just died is coming to stay with them because he plans on visiting his dead wife’s relatives nearby. Robert knew the man’s wife because she worked for him one summer, reading to Robert. The wife and Robert stayed in touch over the years by sending tapes to each other, and letting each other know about what was going on in their lives. When the man hears Robert is coming over he makes idiotic comments about Robert’s wife and felt that Robert would be a burden on them because he is blind. The man and the woman proceed to argue over the situation. The wife tells her husband, “If you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I’d make him feel comfortable” (Carver, “Cathedral” 34). The man responds to this by stating, “I don’t have any blind friends” (Carver, “Cathedral” 34). When Robert finally arrives, they converse, drink, and eat together. After, the wife goes upstairs, the man and Robert begin to smoke some weed together. While the wife was sleeping, they start watching TV together and talking. Robert asks the man to explain to him what a cathedral looks like because cathedrals came up on the TV. The man has trouble explaining it and cannot describe to Robert what a cathedral looks like. Then Robert asks the man to draw a cathedral with him. Robert request that the man close his eyes, and they begin to draw. This is where the story ends and it seems that this is when the man became aware of the difficult lives blind people live as he could not explain what a cathedral looked like, and he could not see his drawing.
Raymond Carver the author of “Cathedral” the narrator in this story has some prejudices, against blind people as well as so discomfort and jealousy towards Robert who is his wife long friend and confidence. In spite of how the narrator feel about Robert he does exactly what his wife asked