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Stereotypes in Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

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Stereotypes are no secret. Everybody develops them in some way or another and uses them in social interactions. These generalizations, both positive and negative, about a characteristic(s) of a group (“Stereotypes) have existed throughout modern and historical societies. The husband in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” interacts with Robert based off of stereotypes formed from social norms and media portrayals of disabled persons. He treats Robert in a negative manner at first relying on those prejudices, but as he comes to know Robert, he re-develops his stereotypes and interacts with Robert in a more positive way.
Dr. Munyi of Kenyatta University states in “Past and Present Perceptions Towards Disability: A Historical Perspective” that fear, ignorance, and superstition are among many social factors that have led to the development of stereotypes and prejudices towards disabled people. Throughout history people with disabilities have been thought to be possessed by the devil, inferior, witches, helpless, et cetera and have therefore been isolated because of the negative views placed on them. These perceptions are developed beginning at childhood as children are particularly vulnerable to views passed on from parents and social norms of the time (Munyi). The media also has a strong influence on stereotypes. Children and other heavy television viewers soak up the views projected on them by the media without question (Farnall and Smith). Especially because few “normal,” non-disabled, people interact frequently with disabled people, the stereotypes are strongly relied on and rarely change among communities (Munyi). Also, with respect to the blind, many of the stereotypes, especially negative ones, have stemmed from generalizations formed...


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...Programs Office. n. pg., 7 July 2011. Web. 15 Apr. 2014.
“How to Communicate With Someone Who is Blind." Chicago Lighthouse. chicagolighthouse.org. 2014. Web. 20 Apr. 2014.
Kemp, NJ. "Social Psychological Aspects of Blindness: A Review." Current Psychological Reviews 1.1 (1981): Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Munyi, Chomba Wa. "Past and Present Perceptions Towards Disability: A Historical Perspective." Disability Studies Quarterly 32.2 (2012): n. pg. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Saetermoe, CL, D Scattone, and Kim KH Kim. "Ethnicity and the Stigma of Disabilities." Psychology & Health 16.6 (2001): 709-712. Web. 27 Mar. 2014.
Smith, Eliot, and Diane Mackie. "Changing Stereotypes: Overcoming Bias to Reduce Prejudice." Social Psychology: Third Edition. London: Psychology Press, 2007. 176-181. psypress.co.uk. Web. 14 Apr. 2014.
"Stereotypes." changingminds.org. n.p., 2013 Web. 20 Apr. 2014.



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