'Learning Never Ends'
In Raymond Carver's short story 'Cathedral,' he uses plot, character, as
well as actions to develop his theme. The theme is very slowly and subtlety
developed early on the story. It is the theme of 'Leaning never ends.'
The character of the narrator's wife is simply a bridge between the two
contrasting attitudes of the narrator and Robert, the blind man. Robert
hired the narrator's wife to read for him. After much interaction, a
friendship developed. On the last day of this work, he asked her if he
could touch her face. This was the first indication in the story of
Robert's desire to learn more about the world about him. This action
had lasting impact on her, illustrated by her writing a poem about it [224.]
The narrator's character is shown to be very much unlike Robert's. The
narrator has never known anyone who was blind..
In The narrator's
mind it was a handicap and it made him feel sorry for Robert. It is also
obvious that Robert knew something about the Narrator from the tapes he
received, whereas the narrator never made the effort to find out much
about Robert. He was obviously reluctant to learn about Robert and his handicap.
After his arrival, Robert unexpectedly did away with the narrator's notion
of blind people and smoking. At dinner the narrator saw that Robert was
not as helpless as he had thought. After dinner he also saw just how
active Robert was. Having an Amway distributorship, and even making
friends all over the world as a ham radio operator. Robert was no doubly
a busy guy, making many friends, reaching out to others, learning about
the world through others around him.
It's very interesting to see how for...