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Essay The Character of the Husband in Raymond Carver's Story Cathedral

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The Character of the Husband in Raymond Carver's Story "Cathedral"


In Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," the husband's view of blind men is changed when he encounters his wife's long time friend, Robert. His narrow minded views and prejudice thoughts of one stereotype are altered by a single experience he has with Robert. The husband is changed when he thinks he personally sees the blind man's world. Somehow, the blind man breaks through all of the husband's jealousy, incompetence for discernment, and prejudgments in a single moment of understanding.

From the beginning of his tale, the husband is quite bland on the subject of love. This is present when he tells the part about his wife's first husband, even going as far as to say the man doesn't deserve to be named because "he was the childhood sweetheart, and what more does he want" (348). When he tells of Beulah, Robert's wife, and her tragic death, he shows no compassion in mocking her for marrying a blind man. He even asks if the woman was a "Negro" because of her name. His materialistic views shine through when he feels actually pity for her because she could "never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one" (349). His lack of compassion for the tale of the blind man's marriage tells the reader that maybe the husband himself doesn't believe in love. When he refers to his wife's first husband as "this man who'd first enjoyed her favors" and "shrugs" when he thinks his wife is disappointed in his actions, it informs the reader he may look at relationships, even his own, as more of a business deal than a devotion of love (348, 350). His wry humor is major indication of his sarcastic character. He even makes a crack to his wife about the blind man befo...


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... creation, asking him what he thinks, the husband keeps his eyes closed, feeling it something he "ought to do." He tells Robert, "It's really something," maybe not referring to the picture, but the actual experience, the way he is seeing a cathedral like the blind man sees it (357).



The husband describes the moment by saying, "I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn't feel like I was inside anything" (357). The previous information of how he saw the world to be and how he sees it now gives him a feeling of a connection with a higher being, more than just Robert. Yet he describes himself being separated (unconnected) from his body, free from this cage that has him materialistic and prejudice to the not-normal. The husband finally sees the world in a more liberal way than what he thought it to be, than what the stereotypes of society told him it was.



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