"Cathedral" Character Analysis

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Throughout Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral,” the nameless narrator, the main character develops emotionally through a situation that creates fear in an already introverted man. He does not want to go outside of his comfort zone and he is caught off guard when he is forced beyond his current developmental state. But, through a lesson from the blind narrator finds himself enlightened to the sentiments of the handicapped.

When the blind man, Robert, first arrives at the narrator’s house the two men, along with the narrator’s wife, sit down to dinner. During the dinner, not much is said between the three, creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. Most families do not welcome visitors into their house by not saying a word while eating. However, because the narrator did not want the blind man in his house he does not feel the need to make him comfortable. He made little effort to welcome the man into his home. He did not go above and beyond to make the environment relaxed for everyone. The narrator says, “We ate everything that was to eat on the table. We ate like that was no tomorrow. We didn’t talk. We ate. We scarfed. We grazed the table. We were into serious eating.” It seems that the narrator cared more about the food that he ate than being a good host to the blind man. That makes him look selfish. It appears that since he does not want the blind man in his house he does thinks that he should have to do anything for him. He does not care if he is comfortable at all. One can gather that all the narrator cares about is himself and the way he feels. Following dinner, the three retired to the living room to watch television. The narrator’s wife grew weary and left the two men alone. The narrator feels uneasy alone with a blind man. He felt the blind as an intruder in his personal space, his house. He was not comfortable with the situation. Finally the narrator makes a slight attempt to ease the atmosphere between him and the blind man by describing what is being shown...
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