The Blind Man In Carver's Cathedral By Raymond Carver

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One's ability to see is often taken for granted as it is in "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver. The title suggests that the story deals with a cathedral, but it is really about two blind men; one physically, the other mentally. One of the men is Robert, the blind friend of the narrator's wife, and the other is the narrator himself. The narrator is the man who is mentally blind, and unknowingly describes his own prejudice. Carver writes the husband as a man with a very narrow mind. Two instances in particular illustrate this idea. The first instance is that the husband seems to believe that the most important thing for women is complimenting them on their looks, the second is his inability to see Robert as a person, only as a blind man. Carver …show more content…
For example, the husband neglects to recognize that Robert can feel. Robert commented about the train ride from the city that he'd "nearly forgotten the sensation" (Carver 35). The husband does not understand that what blind people cannot see they can experience through other senses. The husband does not see what is underneath the skin or what is behind a face. The husband sees people and things at face value; he doesn't look beneath the surface. Robert does not let his handicap affect the way he perceives people and the things around him. Carver illustrates this well when the husband observes "The blind man has another taste of his drink. He lifted his beard, sniffed it, and let it fall. He leaned forward on the sofa. He positioned his ashtray on the coffee table, then put the lighter to his cigarette. He leaned back on the sofa and crossed his legs at the ankles" (Carver 37). Robert did this just as anybody would have done. He does not allow the fact that he is blind stop him from smoking, drinking, and talking. If it does not stop Robert, then why should the presence of the blind man prohibit the husband from acting normal? Being around a blind person should not affect the way the narrator acts, but he simply cannot get beyond Robert's handicap. Throughout the story, the husband refers to Robert only as "the blind man." He does not acknowledge that Robert is a person until the end of the story. He fails to comprehend the irrelevance of Robert's handicap. At one point in the story the husband even admits how ignorant he is; he says "I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people" (Carver

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