In the short story, “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, it all began when the narrator’s wife invites her blind friend Robert over to visit her and her husband. Her husband has normal vision, but in the beginning of the story, he is the one that is blind. For example, he is close minded and stereotypical about this blind man arriving at their home. The husband’s words and actions when dealing with Robert is that the husband is uncomfortable, awkward, and mean. As the story progresses, we can see a change in the husband, and he seems to connect with Robert.
Sometimes we have to look beyond what we see on the outside to understand something more deeply. In the short story Cathedral By Raymond Carver, the narrator has an attitude of being selfish, and jealous through the story. The narrator’s wife invites a blind man, Robert, to come stay in their house for a short time while the man visits family members of his own wife who recently passed. The narrator is not enthusiastic because blind people make the narrator uncomfortable, mainly because the narrator has no real experience with the blind. In addition, to his uneasiness with the blind the narrator is uncomfortable with the relationship his wife and the blind man have. The wife and Robert, the blind man, have maintained a close
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 husband's view of blind men is changed when he encounters his wife's long time friend, Robert. His narrow minded views and prejudice thoughts of one stereotype are altered by a single experience he has with Robert. The husband is changed when he thinks he personally sees the blind man's world. Somehow, the blind man breaks through all of the husband's jealousy, incompetence for discernment, and prejudgments in a single moment of understanding.
“Cathedral” by Raymond Carver is a story that shows the sense of sight in relation to vision, but it shows that the sense of sight requires a much deeper engagement. The narrator, who Robert calls “Bub,” is astonishingly shortsighted or “blind” while the blind man is insightful and perceptive. Bub is not blind, but Robert is. Therefore, he assumes that he is superior to Robert. His assumption correlates with his idea that Robert is unable to make a female happy, nor is he able to have a normal life. Bub is convinced his ability to see is everything. So, he fails to look deeper than the surface and is why he doesn’t know his wife adequately. However, Robert sees much deeper than the narrator, although he cannot look at the surface. Robert’s ability to look deeper helps him understand through his listing and sense of touch. Throughout Robert’s visit, the narrator reveals he is closed minded and exposes how he views life in general. Bub is clobbered and it brings him to the epiphany that his views about Robert are actually a mirror image of how he views his life. His epiphany is shown through the author's use of appearance vs reality, irony, and vernacular dialogue; which shows Bub’s preconceived notations, the connection formed between Bub and Robert, and how out of obliviousness Bub gained insight.
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.
Cathedral, the short story by Raymond Carver is told from a first person point of view through the eyes of the narrator who remains nameless throughout the story. The narrator, for most of the story acts selfish, feels jealousy, and does not want Robert, a blind man, to come to visit, but as the story progresses, the narrator gets to know and understand Robert and for the first time, he begins to see things with a completely different perspective. These changes make the narrator a dynamic character.
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 from what is actually "observed". He is enlightened and opened up to a new world of vision and imagination. This brief experience will have a life long effect on him. The reason for this strong and positive effect is not so much the relationship made between the blind man and the narrator or even the actual events leading up to this experience, but rather it is mostly due to what was drawn by the narrator.
It helps the husband understand more about the situation. Having empathy is a huge factor to connect and become closer with others. It also states that “In the moment when the blind man and the narrator share an identical perception…the narrator sense of enclosure...vanishes” (295). The narrator felt open to the world and hasn’t felt limited at that moment when he and Robert were drawing. Similarly, in Keeping the Reader in the House: American Minimalism, Literary Impressionism, and Raymond Carver's "Cathedral", by Robert C. Clark, explains that the husband has changed in ways from being “prejudice to understanding” (108). When the husband first saw Robert, he questioned why the blind man had to stay with them and why did the blind man have a beard. He was prejudice and expected Robert to be a simple man. But not after drawing with Robert, he can understand why Robert unique and complex. The husband now understands that no one is perfect and that everyone has flaws. Also, Robert C. Clark states that in "Cathedral…suggest that a lack of vision results in an isolation that leads to a poverty of the senses” (112). This means that the husband felt that since Robert lacked vision, it meant that he lacked all of his other senses and that his other senses couldn’t make up for his blindness. The husband at first felt that you need all the sense to function in
When he takes the hand of Roberts and explains to him the cathedral. Even though the narrator can see the cathedral he can't describe it to Robert so he draws it with him the narrator can see it deeper significance. The act of drawing however the cathedral with the narrator's eyes close help himself look inside and understand the greater meaning. As a result of this the description of the cathedral takes on a human element. This frees the narrator and makes him truly able to see for the first time.
When one breaks out of discrimination of blindness towards others, hope will exist and bring a better future in people in understanding the perspectives of others. Upon Robert and the narrator’s attempt of drawing a visual image of the cathedral, the narrator states, “It was like nothing else in my life up to now” (85). This comment suggests that the narrator had finally gotten closer to Robert, and he had finally broken free of discrimination by not criticizing Robert about his blindness. Drawing a cathedral on the piece of paper symbolizes that internally, the narrator is finally not isolated anymore. In fact, the narrator is finally connecting with other people and is now capable of having a life filled with hope. At this moment, the narrator
After dinner, as the wife passes out on the couch, the narrator and Robert are left to smoke weed and watch television with each other. Although awkward at first, the narrator makes small talk with Robert and eventually turns the television on to watch show about cathedrals, and, “tried to explain to the blind man what was happening.” (100). Though the narrator is uncomfortable with the Robert’s presence , and would rather him not be there, he is still sympathetic to his disability and compassionately offers a helping hand to him. He fails to properly explain what a cathedral looks like, however, so instead, he draws one. Drawling a cathedral allows the narrator to experience an epiphany and look inside himself for greater meaning. The narrator
A person’s ability to see is often taken for granted as it is in "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver. Although the title suggests that the story is about a cathedral, it is really about two men who are blind, one physically, the other psychologically. One of the men is Robert, the blind friend of the narrator’s wife; the other is the narrator-husband himself. The husband is the man who is psychologically blind. Carver deftly describes the way the husband looks at life: from a very narrow-minded point of view. Two instances in particular illustrate this. The first is that the husband seems to believe that the most important thing to women is being complimented on their looks; the second is
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.