Blindness in Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Blindness in Raymond Carver's Cathedral Blindness creates a world of obscurity only to be overcome with guidance from someone willing to become intimate with the blind. Equally true, the perceptions of blindness can only be overcome when the blind allow intimacy with the sighted. Raymond Carver, with his short story Cathedral, illustrates this point through the eyes of a man who will be spending an evening with a blind man, Robert, for the first time. Not only does this man not know Robert, but his being blind, "bothered" (Carver 98) him. His, "idea of blindness came from the movies", where, "...the blind move slowly and never laughed" (Carver 98). These misconceptions of blindness form barriers between the blind and the sighted. Carver breaks down these barriers as he brings the vastly different lives of these two men together. Those of us with sight find it difficult to identify with the blind. This man, like most of us, can only try to imagine what life is like for Robert. As a result of his inability to relate with Robert, he thinks his behaviors are odd, and is unable to understand the relationship he has with his wife. His wife worked for this blind man many years ago, reading him reports and case studies, and organizing his "...little office" (Carver 98) in the county's social-service department. He remem¬ bers a story his wife told about the last day she worked for him. The blind man asked her if he could touch her face, and she agreed. She told him that Robert had touched every part of her face with his fingers, "...her nose-even her neck!" (Carver 98). His wife wrote poetry whenever something important happened in her life, and she "...tried" (Carver 98) to write a poem about this unf... ... middle of paper ... ...ed, "It's really something" (Carver 108). The man had allowed himself to experience, even if just for a few minutes, what the blind man experienced every second of his life. This, with the same man only a few hours ago he didn't want in his house. Overcoming prejudices, fears, and misconceptions is only possible when you allow yourself to get close to a person these feelings are directed towards. By becoming close with Robert, the man in this story experienced what was necessary to gain an understanding of what life is like for the blind. The man began to draw the cathedral to try and help Robert visualize what one looked like. What he didn't realize at the time was that Robert was helping him to visualize what blindness felt like. Bibliography: Carver, Raymond. "Cathedral". The Story and Its Writer by, Ann Charters. Bedford Press. 1999.
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