Blindness In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

Pages: 6 (1342 words) Published: December 6, 2015


Blindness means lack of vision or inability to see, as defined in the dictionary. Not being able to see can be extremely hard, and so blind people have to cope to become part of society. They have to depend on their other senses to be able to explore the world around them. However, the good thing is that they learn to use their other senses better than other people do. Cathedral, by Raymond Carver, is set in an early stage when the industry is switching from black and white to colored television. The story took place in Narrator’s house when his wife invited an old friend to visit their home for one night. The wife’s old friend is a blind man named Robert. His wife, Beulah, had recently passed away and so he is visiting her family in Connecticut....

The narrator was not happy about the visit, for he was bothered with Robert’s blindness because he thinks that not being able to see means being helpless. He even pities Robert’s deceased wife for the reason that Robert could never look at her physically, but what the narrator fails to see is how Robert intimately understands his late wife and how he is able to see her in a non-physical way. Even though the narrator has the gift of sight, he has difficulty understanding people’s thought and feelings. He is judgmental and close-minded, for he does not understand the relationship between his wife and Robert. However, his perspective towards blind people has changed that night. Robert showed him how blind people see the world around them by the two of them drawing a cathedral with his eyes closed. Even though Robert is blind, he made the wife happy by taking the time to listen to her and opened the narrator’s mind to life’s...

His life is simple; he is one of those people who can be happy staying home, watching television and drinking beer. The narrator being an anti-social prevented him to see and do great things in life. That evening when Robert visited the narrator’s house, Robert and the narrator were watching television while drinking and smoking. The show they were watching showed a famous cathedral and the narrator apologized for what they are watching. Robert’s understanding illustrated when he tells the him, “It’s fine with me. Whatever you want to watch is okay. I’m always learning something. Learning never ends” (Carver 96). This signifies that Robert is open to new ideas and want to expand his knowledge. He never allows his blindness to damage his quality of life. However, Robert could not grasp the image of a cathedral, so he asked the narrator if he could describe the cathedral for him. The narrator realizes that he is unable to describe a Cathedral, so he finished describing the cathedral by saying, “The truth is, cathedrals don’t mean anything special to me. Nothing. Cathedrals. They’re something to look at on late-night TV. That’s all they are” (Carver 99). This signifies that he is close-minded which made him unable to see the deeper significance of the cathedral. Robert thought of an idea and asked the narrator for a piece of heavy paper and a pen. He creatively communicates with the narrator by letting him imagine and draw the...
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