The Cathedral

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Harveen Soni Professor Rosner Eng. 102

Cathedral

A persons ability to see is often taken for granted as it is in the story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver. Although the title hints that the story is about a cathedral, it is really about two men who are blind. one of the men is Robert, the blind friend of the narrators wife. The other is the narrator, the husband himself; he is psychologically blind. through the husbands words and actions when he is dealing with Robert, the blind man, it is shown that the husband doesn’t “see” or understand what Roberts blindness means and how it changes or doesn’t change him as a person. At first, Robert makes the husband feel very uncomfortable, for the husband doesn’t know what to say or do around the blind man. As the story progresses, we can see a change in the husband, he seems to be able to see Robert as a person and not just a blind man.

One example that shows the husband is "blind" comes in the beginning of the story, before Robert arrives. When the husband and wife talk about Robert, the husband usually refers to him as "this blind man" (143), and he never uses Robert’s name or assigns any human qualities to him. This shows that the husband does not really see Robert as a person, but just as a blind man who is different because he has a handicap.

When Robert arrives at the couple’s house, the husband is clueless about what to say to him. The husband asks stupid questions about the view from the train: "Which side of the train did you sit on?" (144). The husband knows that Robert cannot see the view, but he asks him these questions anyway. Also, the husband thinks to himself, "I didn’t know what else to say" (144) which is a clear indication that he does not know how to relate to Robert. Both of these quotations show that the husband does not know what to talk about with Robert because he only sees Robert’s handicap, instead of seeing him as a complete human being who...
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