Analysis of Carver's Cathedral


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Cathedral

I found ‘Cathedral’ to be a very warming story. Throughout Carver’ story, we meet a blind man, a wife, and the wife’s husband. Three very particular and determined people in their own way. We quickly learn that the story is told from the husband’s point of view, where he starts his story off explaining that a blind man is coming to stay with them while he visits his dead wife’s relatives. The husband is quick to acknowledge the fact he is not happy with having a blind man in his house, let alone a man he has never met but on tape, and a man that has an unusual relationship with his wife. Who though, in this story, is the actual blind man?
The husband is very quick to judge. He explains that a blind man has no business being in their house, and that their house even equipped to holding a blind man. The husband, whom remained nameless throughout the story, judges the blind man for marrying a woman whom he had never seen. It seems as if the husband lives his life through his eyes, not his heart. I find him to be on the jealous side as well, as he frequently makes snide remarks about how his wife has a relationship with a blind man, who let him touch her face.
Along with being quick to judge, I feel that the husband is not very considerate (well, anyone can tell that by reading the story, I suppose), and not very supportive. He does not think much of his wife’s poetry, which is obvious that it means something to her and she enjoys doing. He is not considerate or supportive of her having such a friendly relationship with the blind man. The story does not tell much of the blind man’s age until the middle of the story, and one could assume he was an older man. Not one in his 40s. The husband certainly has people issues, as he cannot maintain a positive conversation.
With that, it brings me to the point of discussion on when the blind man actually arrives. The husband treats the blind man (whom is now deemed Robert) like an alien. The husband’s small talk of trains and whiskey and scotch leads him to think that the only thing he knew about blind people were that they didn’t smoke because they couldn’t see the exhaled remnants.

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The husband truly believes Robert is not an individual like himself. The husband seemed to appreciate dinner most because he did not have to talk, though he tried to make a good impression by saying grace.
Perhaps it was the weed they all shared, but the ending of the story when the wife drifted to sleep on the couch seems to be when the husband finally opens his eyes. The two men sit and watch (or listen, in Robert’s case) to a TV channel discussing chapels. It is then Robert speaks up and asks if the husband has ever seen one. Replying no, Robert tries something by having the husband draw a chapel while Robert holds the top of his hand. The husband eventually closes his eyes, envisioning himself as being the blind one. Robert seems like a very smart man, noticing the way the husband feels awkward in holding conversations with him, and feeling the tension in the room. They say if a person is lacking a sense, the others become more profound. It seems that this was Robert’s plan all along!
Though the husband comes off as controlling (my wife this and my wife that), and judgmental, he slowly opens his eyes to the bigger picture. It could have been the joint, it could have been the discussion on cathedrals, but in the end, I believe that the husband realizes he was actually the blind one in his story.


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