Analysis of Raymond Carver's Cathedral

Essay by Elayne13College, UndergraduateA, December 2009

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Raymond Carver’s Cathedral illustrates the point of view of a self-centered man, the narrator, who suffers from a mild lack of education and culture while being more than slightly close-minded and rude. These are observations that one can make by considering how he reacts to his wife’s blind friend, Robert coming over at their house as well as by his perceptions of the blind man. The fact that the main character is also narrating helps as well when trying to capture his nature since we have access to his every thought. His unease towards the blind man appears under various forms throughout the short story but it also fades as the husband starts to ask more sincere questions to the blind man, as he takes a greater interest in him. At the end, the man realizes something, or more precisely, the blind man makes him understand something. For that reason, we can affirm that Carver’s Cathedral is a story about the blind leading the blind for ignorance is a sort of blindness as it isolates one from the rest of the world and others’ emotions.

To begin with, in order to prove that Cathedral is a story about the blind leading the blind, explaining how the narrator is blind is crucial. We can claim that he is “blind” in his own way because he has limited understanding of others’ realities. He knows only stereotypes. This can be understood in some parts of the text such as: “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blinds moved slowly and never laughed…” (265) and “blind men don’t smoke.” (270) Moreover, we can tell that he is ignorant because he cannot carry an interesting conversation. This is also due to the fact that the Robert makes him feel...