AP English Literature
It is rare to see a story demonstrate an understanding of enlightenment and insight as sincere and tenacious as “Cathedral,” a short story authored by Raymond Carver. Carver’s short story portrays an inconsiderate narrator and his encounter between him and a composed blind man named Robert. It is evident that the narrator is reluctant to welcome the blind man, an old friend of the narrator’s wife, as he contemplates stereotypes to create his judgment. As the story progresses, however, it becomes evident that the narrator needs Robert to have a sense of who he is and realizes that his life could allow for change. Through the climax of the drawing of the cathedral, the narrator comes to recognize that different people, no matter their appearance, bring about entirely new perspectives of a person towards those around him and ultimately himself. Beginning of the story, the narrator is initially seen as isolated and insensible towards the presence of others, especially Robert, the blind man. As the narrator’s wife welcomes her old friend to her and the narrator’s home, the narrator shows reluctance inviting Robert through his front door. “This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died…He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me…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 nothing I looked forward to” (p. 516). The narrator assumes that Robert is reflective of the stereotypes mentioned; this is the first showing of the narrator being insensible towards others. The narrator’s thoughts of Robert show how indifferent he is towards his wife, as well, as he shows no sign of caring regarding his wife’s feelings. The narrator also demonstrates a sense of isolationism, which is recognized by even his wife. “‘I don’t have any blind...
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