The Blind leading the Blind
In Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” a blind man (Robert) opens the eyes of the narrator that is blinded by ignorance. In the beginning of the story the narrator points out numerous faults of the other characters. This would lead the reader to believe that the narrator has it all together. It is soon discovered that behind the narrator’s ignorant accusations there is a plethora of blindness, ignorance, and jealousy. Robert is really the most capable person in this story even though he is portrayed as a poor disabled wretch when the narrator says “I’d always thought dark glasses were a must for the blind" or "I didn’t want to be left alone with a Blind man" (Carver, 6, 8). As the story progresses the narrator's wife invites Robert into their home. This is at first extremely uncomfortable for her husband (the narrator) but later results in his healing from ignorance and jealousy. At a glance, it seems as if the narrator could see and Robert was the one without sight. As the characters are introduced, the narrator inadvertently exposes his own faults which are ignorance and jealousy. Robert seems to have a better view of life than the narrator who can see physically where he is going, but seems to be blind to where his relationships or lack thereof are headed. With his clear insight on life Robert is able to listen and relate to people where the narrator is unable to do so himself. Even though the narrator knew very little about Robert, he prejudged him before even meeting him. It is obvious his judgments came from Hollywood stereotypes and showed he had little knowledge about the blind when he said, “My idea of blindness came from the movies, in the movies; the blind moved slowly and never laughed" (1). The narrator is not only blind to his own ignorance, but also to the feelings and desires of his wife. In contrast, Robert’s eyes are wide open to her feelings and have been “over the years, Robert and her put all kinds of stuff on tapes and...
Cited: Carver, Raymond. "Cathedral." The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction. Ed. Cassill, R.V. and Richard Bausch. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2000. 1-15.
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