Analysis Of Literal And Figurative Blindness In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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With in the first few lines of the story, the reader can get the sense that this is not an ordinary piece. The narrator is very casual telling his story, yet is able to engage the reader because throughout the story he shows that his is self-absorbed and lacks self-awareness. In “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver the narrator takes Robert’s literal blindness as a foil to his wife and his own blindness, which aren’t physical but social and emotional. While reading the story, there are a few points that grab the attention of the reader and may affect their portrayal of literal and figurative blindness; His wife, Robert, and the Cathedral. The wife in this story sleeps through majority of the story, but giving the fact that the narrator provides a…show more content…
Some readers might think that he is a good guy just because of the way the narrator doesn’t trust him. Other readers could agree with the narrator’s point of view which is throughout his relationship with his wife, Robert has always been a main key in her life, lurking in the background. One could think that Robert could be planning on trying to seduce the wife. But instantly after meeting Robert, he says, “this blind man was late forties, a heavy-set, balding man with stooped shoulders, as if he carried a great weight there” which makes the readers feel his grief even though the narrator seems almost oblivious. Robert’s wife has recently died, and we learn that although her is there in person, talking about his life, he seems as if he is not really present. The narrator was naïve to be thinking that Robert was clearly not a threat and that his wife and him are clearly friends. Once he realizes that the narrator opens up to Robert, and is motivated to show his wife he loves her by being nice to her friend. He also sees an opportunity to learn about his assumptions of blind people. In the beginning of the story, the narrator voices that his “idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.” But while watching, and hearing the way Robert did things changed the way…show more content…
The narrator was watching TV and Robert was listening to the documentary about cathedrals. The narrator wonders if Robert has an idea of what a cathedral is, and so he asks him. When Robert asks him to describe a cathedral for him, because he can’t picture one. The narrator tries, but cannot find the words to adequately describe what he sees. He says, “I stared hard at the shot of the cathedral on the TV. How could I even begin to describe it? But say my life depended on it. Say my life was being threatened by an insane guy who said I had to do it or else” This is a crisis moment for him. He imagines a crazy man forcing him into describing a cathedral is absurd and comical but it shows his sense of panic. He can’t describe what he sees because he doesn’t really understand it. Earlier in the story the narrator successfully described a parade in Spain dressed as devils and skeletons but could not describe a cathedral. Robert then gets a bright idea and tells the narrator to find paper and a pen. They then sit on the floor, Robert puts his hand on the narrators hand, and tells him to start drawing. The narrator gets into it and Robert while hes drawing his saying hes right on track. Then Robert tells the narrator to close his eyes. He does so, and then completes the drawing. He ends the story saying “My eyes are still closed. I was in my house. I knew

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