February 21, 2013
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Judge not, lest ye be judged. Two’s company and three’s a crowd. These are all well- known clichés that Raymond Carver was able to incorporate into his short story Cathedral. These clichés were able to take form as the story’s theme. The narrator (Bub) had a noticeable and open prejudice towards blind people. Carver was able to grasp how a person with a physical disability is coddled by society instead of being treated like an equal being. Bub’s anxiety and lack of enthusiasm was apparent when his wife invited her blind friend, Robert over for a visit. In the text Bub stated that he was not looking forward to having a blind man in his home. Within the story the narrator shows his ignorance and lack of factual knowledge of blind people. The narrator needed a personal experience with a disabled person before being able to comprehend the degree of his ignorance. His experience with a blind man taught him more than he was expecting to learn. Bub was able to discard his pre conceptions of Robert through interaction and surveillance with and of him.
There was not an open welcoming of Robert’s visit from the narrator. Bub’s displeasure for having a blind person in his home originated from uneducated and ignorant beliefs. He truly believed that blind people were never happy and always moved slow. In the story, the narrator is shocked that Robert is able to easily feed himself. Bub’s stereotypical thoughts are evidence of the first cliché, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” In the text Bub stated that he’d seen movies of blind people but he never truly interacted with a blind person before. He was very judgmental of Robert before even meeting him. From the moment Robert arrived, the narrator began to realize that his pre conceptions of the blind were fallacies. Carver’s use of this cliché conveys one of the underlying themes in the story.