The ' Cathedral ' By Raymond Carver

1294 Words6 Pages
Most of us live our life without truly living. We follow the path handed down from generations of social conformity. We are taught to aspire to a marriage, house full of descendants, and stable job that supports the aforementioned. Besides the majority leading a constraining lifestyle, there are few who sincerely enjoy their lives and celebrate their individuality. The renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow discusses that people live a fulfilling life because of self-actualization in his study “Self-Actualization and Beyond” in 1967. He notes that with self-awareness, a person “comes to know what [their] destiny is, who [their] wife or husband will be, what [their] mission in life will be” (Maslow 440). In the cases of those who aren’t aware…show more content…
The narrator chooses to hold himself back from achieving any progression towards self-actualization with making close-minded judgments in regards to his wife’s blind friend Robert, such as “Was [Roberts] wife a Negro” (Carver 301) and “But [Robert] didn’t use a cane and he didn’t wear dark glasses” (Carver 303). These are clear indications that the narrator has kept his mind closed to keep himself safe whilst choosing to hinder his progression to actualization by “being afraid.” The absence of interests in the narrator is another prevention of progression that Maslow advised against in his eighth behavior to self-actualization:
“finding out who one is, what he is, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, what is good for him and what bad, where he is going and what his mission is – opening oneself up to himself […] It means identifying defenses, and after defenses have been identified, it means finding the courage to give them up.”
The narrator has yet to indulge in any activities, like a sport or hobby, to give full concentration to, to explore his likes and dislikes. His defenses were possibly taught through the “introjected voice of the Establishment, […] or of tradition,” (Maslow 439) to live a quiet life with a stable job, a woman in his home, and basic necessities. The narrator’s environment enforced these social patterns to maintain

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