Cathedral Critical Essay

1254 Words Mar 2nd, 2012 6 Pages
V. Harbert
Eng. 102 S. Buchanan 02/01/2012
“Cathedral” Critical Essay

It is human nature to shy away from social situations that make us uncomfortable. Also, as a people with great pride, we often find it difficult to admit when we have been iniquitous, or to allow ourselves to be open to humbling experiences. Sometimes though, it is not entirely due to intolerance that we allow ourselves to make ill-informed judgments. Raymond Carver was a writer with some insight concerning these very ideas. In his short story, “Cathedral,” Carver uses a nameless narrator and his interactions with a blind man to illustrate how a lack of experience can lead to ignorance and thus prejudice. Through the development of this character,
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He is shocked at how average looking Robert is. “This blind man,” he says, “feature this, he was wearing a full beard. A beard on a blind man! Too much, I say.” Bub had absolutely no idea what to expect from Robert, as the only blind man he had ever seen was in a film, and yet he had already built up hatred towards Robert. At the beginning of “Cathedral,” Bub is an undeniably unenlightened and uncouth man. As the story progresses, Carver uses Bub’s inner discourse and interaction with Robert to further cultivate this theme of prejudice; however, as the men intermingle, Bub begins to lose sight of his preconceived notions. Upon Robert’s arrival, Bub is intensely uncomfortable having Robert in his home, and admittedly so. As Bub’s wife introduces the men, Bub has very little to say. He stands back taking Robert in. Robert, Bub is now beginning to realize, is not at all what he had supposed. His prejudice had been built around the image he had created of Robert. Bub imagined Robert as an ineffectual blind man, someone of no consequence and very little personality. As this image is devastated by the actuality of Robert, Bub’s hatred begins to transform into curiosity. “But he didn’t use a cane and he didn’t wear dark glasses,” Bub noticed. “At first glance, his eyes looked like anyone else’s eyes. But if

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