“Cathedral”: The Difference between Looking and Seeing
Everything given to a person in life is a blessing, and a person has the opportunity to choose whether they want to appreciate what has been given to them or not. A blessing can be small or large, whether it be a house to live in, a car to drive in, or even eyes to see. In the short story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the narrator is unappreciative towards everything he has in his life including his wife. His wife invites an old friend who shares an emotional connection with her which the narrator and wife do not share, to spend the night. The narrator becomes skeptical about Robert spending the night, especially after finding out that the man is blind. During the blind man’s visit, the narrator learns a valuable lesson. This story shares a strong message of relationships which breaks down to intimacy, jealousy, communication and acceptance. It started in the beginning of the story with the invitation of Robert to spend the night, showing the intimacy and jealousy, leading to the symbolism of the audio tapes representing communication, and ending with the symbolism of the drawing of the cathedral opening the narrator’s eyes to reality and representing acceptance.
In the beginning of the story the narrator shows ignorance towards Robert being blind. The narrator is in his own world and does not have a strong relationship with his wife. They barely stay awake to see each other, not having any intimacy whatsoever with one another, and not even going to bed at the same time together. ”Every night I smoked dope and stayed up as long as I could before I fell asleep. My wife and I hardly went to bed at the same time” (Carver 39). On the other hand, after the wife worked one summer for Robert, she developed a connection with him immediately. The wife’s relationship grew with the blind man towards the end of the job, and he became a sentimental part of her life after he had asked to touch her face. “He...
Carver, Raymond. ”Cathedral.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Shorter Eleventh Edition.
Ed. Kelly J Mays. New York: Norton, 2013. 32-42. Print.
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