Analysis of the Relationship of the Blind Man and the Husband

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Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" depicted the interaction between a narrow minded husband, with a limited understanding of the world around him, and a blind visitor, named Robert, that proved to be the catalyst that dramatically changed the husband's view on the world, while they went from being strangers to becoming friends. In the beginning of the story, the husband disliked the concept of his wife bringing her blind friend over to stay since he never had met a blind person before and did not understand it. However, as the story progresses, the husband, through interaction and observation, begins to dispel his fears and misconceptions of Robert and his blindness. With the help of Robert, the husband gains a revelation that changed his view and opened his eyes to the world.

The husband's view on the world at the start of the story was a narrow one that was based on his ignorance, which prevented him from gaining understanding. His long held misconceptions, especially about blindness, defined his expectations about things he did not understand. For instance, when the husband found out that Robert was coming to stay, he disliked the idea of someone who was blind, let alone someone who he didn't know, coming to visit and the husband's "idea of blindness came from the movies." He saw the blind people as people who "moved slowly and never laughed." This was not the limit of his ignorance as it was further displayed by his constant referral of Robert as "the blind man" and his assumption of Robert's deceased wife being a black person based solely on the name of Beulah. This assumption display his bigotry is not limited to Robert's blindness and that differences that he did not understan...

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...ing new things, much like Robert trying pot for the first time. In a way, Robert showed by example that the world could be much larger by having an open mind and a willingness to try. Had Robert gone to bed or given up on the cathedral description, then it would be very likely that the husband would have not had a unique perspective into Robert's world. Even though, Robert had a new experience with smoking pot, he did not go through a dramatic change in personality since his philosophy on learning has been with him from the start. The husband did change dramatically from being defensive and uncertain at the start to making attempts to broaden his horizon. In a case of the "blind leading the blind" Robert pointed the husband towards a path of enlightenment and understanding that became the foundation for strengthening the friendship between the two.

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