Criticism Of The Narrator In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

Improved Essays
In the short story, “Cathedral”¸ written by Raymond Carver, the narrator is a middle-aged man who is very judgmental towards a blind man, however, as the story develops, the reader comes to the realization that “[The blind man] sees how to get along with others... by contrast, the narrator, although sighted, does not see how his isolation damages himself, his wife, and their relationship (Bloom, 47).” This story has a biased view towards the blind man because it is told in the first person view from the narrator’s eyes, but as it progresses, his views on the blind man and his life change completely. (Bloom, 47)
“Cathedral” is a short story with many allegories throughout the story. In the story, the narrator, a regular married man, learns that
…show more content…
The main focus of the story is a middle-aged man who comes to understand what it is like being blind. Even though the narrator had never met Robert, he had several ideas of what Robert, and all other blind people, would be like, saying “I remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke because… they couldn’t smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people (Carver).” This quote shows the reader how the narrator’s view is clouded by the judgements of others, and not the truth. Eve Weiderhold, a feminist professor at George Mason University, believes that “the narrator’s wife, while married to a military officer, attempted suicide and that this act prompted her to contact Robert after she quit her job. Here, the narrator’s apparent lack of interest in talking about his wife’s suicide attempt would be of interest, particularly when exploring the text’s representation of gender (Weiderhold).” Personally, I disagree with Weiderhold on this matter because I believe that Raymond Carver is simply describing the life of the narrator’s life, and not that “Carver has followed the convention of using a female character as a material obstacle to overcome to enable a male protagonist’s intellectual epiphany (Weiderhold).” Weiderhold believes that Carver tried to use the narrator’s wife as a building block for the narrator’s prejudiced views. I think that his wife trying to kill herself has nothing to do with the narrator himself, and instead is more of a character development for the narrator’s wife (Weiderhold). I believe that the narrator is actually a representation of modern-day life and society. In today’s society, we believe anything that we read on the internet or hear from our friends. We tend to form an image in our minds about things, like blind people, but we include myths that we have heard. In the narrator’s

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    Ignorance is the worst form of blindness. In the short story, “Cathedral,” Raymond Carver creates a dynamic character who is judgmental and lacks insight, but ironically, a blind man soon helps him see. This character, never actually given a name, is also the narrator. Carver’s decision to withhold his name is intriguing since he gives the blind man a name, Robert. The narrator in “Cathedral” himself produces an antisocial, prejudiced personality for others to interact with, but shows the greatest amount of change throughout the story.…

    • 344 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The short story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver is told from the point-of-view of the narrator. Speaking in first person, the narrator describes a particular night in which he meets Robert, a blind friend of the narrator’s wife. Because the story is written in the first person, the reader is able to see what the narrator is thinking as well as speaking. Furthermore, because of the point-of-view and the brutal honesty of the narrator, the reader is given a chance to connect with the narrator and follow him through his personal transformation from the beginning of the story until the end.…

    • 1312 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    The narrator shows a lack of kindness for the blind man as he states, “His wife had died…I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. ”(520) The narrator’s limited knowledge about a blind person also colored his perspective, “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind move slowly and never laugh.…

    • 1022 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The narrator, though not blind like Robert, is completely unaware and lacks insight to the world…

    • 1012 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Interestingly, the fact that he could not see made him a very keen person in hearing and surprisingly this made him “see” better than the narrator who had eyes. A decade of sending and receiving audiotapes from the narrator’s wife attests to this. Robert provided a leaning shoulder for the narrator’s wife when she was in distress concerning her marriage, the attempted suicide, and her divorce. In addition the blind man was a radio operator who had made great friends with other operators in various countries and talks nostalgically about the number of friends he will meet there were he to make a visit to those countries. Towards the end of the story, Robert makes a connection with the normally detached…

    • 1298 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Differences meet In this very second there is a war in the Middle East. Different ideologies fight for the control of the area. Differences are destroying a once blossoming culture. This is seen way too often in the human history, but differences are not necessarily bad.…

    • 544 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    And his being blind bothered me” (Carver 33). He is very honest in his feelings towards the man’s disabilities. Never taking the time to even bother considering the man’s capabilities…

    • 217 Words
    • 1 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    Summary Of Raymond Carver's Cathedral

    • 1416 Words
    • 6 Pages
    • 1 Works Cited

    The very thought of describing such an object was intimidating to the narrator. This is clear when he says, “Say my life was being threatened by an insane guy who said I had to do it or else” (44). This fear is what led the narrator to begin describing, and to continue even when he knew his description was not making a clear picture in Robert’s mind. After a while, the narrator gives up, stating that cathedrals are not too important to him anyway. Robert had another idea in mind.…

    • 1416 Words
    • 6 Pages
    • 1 Works Cited
    Great Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Through the juxtaposing characterization of the husband and the blind man, Carver establishes the opposing views on emotional relationships. The husband’s narcissistic personality enables him to view his wife as an object, while the blind man, Robert, treats her as a friend and a confidant, highlighting the difference between looking and seeing. The narrator’s…

    • 1099 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    A major theme in short stories is isolation. In “Lusus Naturae” by Margaret Atwood and “Recitatif” by Toni Morrison illustrates the theme of physical isolation. Robert Carver shows the narrators isolation is self-inflected in the story “Cathedral”. Self-inflected isolation is also displayed in “Lusus Naturae”.…

    • 774 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In everyday life, prejudice is an ongoing dispute faced by people for many different reasons; these reasons include religion, race, ethnicity, physical and mental disabilities, and almost any kind of diversity in general. In the short story titled “Cathedral”, written by author Raymond Carver, Carver illustrates character growth of a protagonist through the our unnamed narrator – referred to as “Bub” by Robert – when he undergoes a transformative experience realizing he should not discriminate or judge Robert or other individuals based on their appearance or handicaps. At first, “Bub” is apprehensive to the idea of Robert staying in his home because he is blind, through the night there is not much of an attempt on the narrators part to get…

    • 817 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, he had an epiphany when he got to spend time with the blind man. The main protagonist is a shallow man with low self-esteem. His relationship with his wife can be best described as aloof. The blind man Robert, on the other hand, has a close relationship with the wife. He is caring and…

    • 1108 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    When we begin this story, Carver uses the inner dialogue of “Bub,” the narrator, to allow the reader some insight into Bub’s character and his vast ignorance of the world outside of his home. Preceding a visit from his wife’s blind friend, Robert, the narrator makes many brash comments that give a sense of his lack of acquaintance with visually disabled people. Bub admits, “And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed……

    • 1254 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In Cathedral, there are two main characters. There is the husband, and a blind man named Robert. Raymond Carver details two polarizing characters: the blind man at first is just a visitor who the wife is really close to and therefor curious as to why he’s there, while the husband is a helpless, carless, lazy man that doesn’t seem too deep into his relationship. “If you love me,”…

    • 933 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    However, at the end of the story, when Robert asked him to close his eyes while he drew a cathedral, and the narrator keep his eyes close a little bit longer, He said that “it’s really something (Carver, 504)”. Although the story did not tell if he became an open-minded person from that moment on, the reader could tell that he was experiencing something that he never experiencing before, and that somehow it has changed his perspective. The theme of the story could also be about to think before one’s self. It was evident in the story, when the husband said that “I don’t have any blind friends (Carver, 494)”, without thinking that to invite Robert to his house, would meant something to Robert, since it will comfort him, especially after his wife death. This message was clear, especially when his wife became furious at him, and said that “don’t you understand that?…

    • 1041 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays