The narrator of the story "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver has never met someone who was blind until Robert came to visit. Robert has been a friend of the narrator's wife for the past ten years and is spending the night because he has not seen her for such a long time, but this bothers the narrator. He does not regard a blind man as a normal person with whom he can relate with, and is extremely uncomfortable with the idea of having to socialize with one for an entire evening. The narrator is stereotypical and uses these preconceptions to form an opinion of the blind man even though he has not yet arrived. This is plainly evident in the first paragraph when he states, I wasn't enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to(184).
He believes that since blind individuals in the movies are slow and never laugh, then all blind people must be slow and never laugh. The narrator makes it apparent that he feels that the speed at which a blind man moves will have a negative effect on his personality. Also, the idea that the blind never laugh play's a significant role towards the narrator's opinion of Robert because he expects a very dull evening with a blind man who has no sense of humor. A further example of the narrator's preconceptions is expressed when he says, "But he didn't use a cane and he didn't wear dark glasses. I'd always thought dark glasses were a must for the blind. Fact was, I wished he had a pair"(187-88). Again, the narrator is concerned with trivial characteristics. Whether or not Robert carries a cane or
wears glasses should not have any bearing on the way in which others perceive him. Instead, the narrator expresses a desire for the blind man to have dark glasses so that he would...
Cited: Carver, Raymond. "Cathedral." An Introduction to literature. Ed. Sylvan Barnet, Morton Berman, William Burto, William E. Cain. 11th ed. New York: Longman, 1997. 184-194.
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