Sex in Cathedral

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Being Smart enough to take a hint from the lesson plan, Raymond Carver disguises some very subliminal sexual innuendos in a few different places throughout the story of Cathedrals. On the surface it’s a story about a man losing his social misgivings for the blind by coming to understand what it is like to be in that person’s shoes, so to speak. If a few scenes are looked at in a different light though, they bring on a completely different meaning for what the narrator experiences. The first clue that these scenes can be taken a different way is the fact that these are the same scenes that feature the most amount of detail and description. By using sexual innuendos in the scenes of the narrator’s wife having her face touched by Robert, the dinner scene, and the drawing scene, carver turns one social upheaval into a completely different one. The key to decoding the text is to remember that Robert is only blind to… the blind; to the aware, Robert is obviously gay, which is a much more fitting social issue for the disdain the narrator feels about Robert’s “blindness.” The first place a sexual innuendo occurs is when Robert touches the narrator’s wife’s face. While not much is described about the action itself, a key quote from the narrator shows something a little deeper went on here, “So okay. I’m saying that…she let the blind man run his hands over his face…” (Carver, 109). A funny way to express that situation especially after learning that the wife wrote a poem about it, and that she only writes poems about really important things that happened to her. Not the best case for the face touching, but the second instance, the dinner scene, is obviously hiding a little extra-curricular sex and is a better judge of the hidden wordplay Carver puts into the text. Dinner scene or just a good old fashioned orgy? The first clue when the narrator describes the frenzy in which they silently ate, “We dug in. We ate everything there was to eat on the table. We ate like there was...
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