In the story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the narrator is overwhelmed with disappointment and misunderstanding in his own life. He doesn’t see all the beauty and creativity in the world, but merely goes through the motions of life without actively living. Blindness is an underlying theme in this story, but not only as a physicality, but a social handicap. The narrator may be more capable of sight than the blind man, but he knows nothing of the descriptive illustration of life. It is through the blind mans probing of the narrator, that he finally discovers how closed off and shielded he has been. We can see a revelation in the narrator, and a transformation in his mindset.
In the opening of this story, the narrator is closed-minded to the idea of a blind man entering his home. “A blind man in my house is not something I looked forward to” (1). It is through his resistance that we are introduced to his insecurities, and the layer of doubt that overcomes him. He is a simple man who lives a simple life. He loves his wife, but is not even sure what the love he has with her entails. His wife is a very expressive woman, using poetry to describe feeling and emotion. He is dismissive of her talent and more obviously, of her. “I can remember I didn’t think much of the poem. Of course, I didn’t tell her that... something to read” (1). They’re lack of communication is what draws the woman even closer to the blind man. She shares an intimate and emotional bond with him that she has never been able to establish with the narrator.
The narrator has many misconceptions built up in his head about the blind.”I remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke... I knew only that much about blind people” (4). It was all he knew and all he really cared to know. There is a sense of discomfort imposed on the narrator with the blind man in his presence. Mainly because he doesn’t understand how someone without such a powerful sense can be so in-tuned with life. He was...
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