Cathedral by Raymond Carver

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This essay is going to be about “Cathedral” which is a short story written by Raymond Carver. Cathedral is simply the narrative of a man and his acceptance and understanding of a blind man. The man himself is a symbol of the overlying theme of the story, which is overcoming one’s personal prejudice. Throughout the story the narrator shows that he has a predetermined mindset of what a blind man is, his struggles, and his lifestyle. The author shows that the narrator’s stubbornness affects both his relationship with his wife, and his personal evocation of emotions. In Raymond Carvers “Cathedral”, we see the struggles of overcoming prejudices tackled throughout the narrative, as depicted through motifs, and symbols.

From the beginning the narrator’s preconceived notions of this man are very apparent. His wife informs him that the blind man, a friend of hers, would be visiting after the passing of his wife. Immediately the narrator detests this idea claiming that blind men “moved slow,” and “never laughed.” The narrator claims that his preconceived notions come from the way that blind individuals are depicted in Hollywood movies. In this instance we can see the author is being critical of the film industry. The way “Hollywood” depicts a certain group of people has a direct effect on people perceptions. These perceptions are made even more apparent when he actually meets the man. At first he is surprised that a seeing-eye dog isn’t leading the man. He is even more surprised that he isn’t using a walking stick or has sunglasses. The author is showing how these perceptions are ignorant as a result of society’s portrayal of blind citizens.

The narrator continues there meeting by asking blunt, rude questions. He claims his su...

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...personal and compassionate relationship with the blind man. The author throughout the story never gives the narrator or his wife a name. However the blind man is given the name Robert. This gives the blind man more identity then the narrator. He has a name, a history, and compassion that the “narrator” simply did not have. By the end of short story the narrator overcomes his prejudices of people that are different than him, and finds himself.

“The Cathedral” tackles many obstacles against prejudice. Throughout the narrative we see the close-mindedness of the man changes when he realizes he was wrong to judge someone based on their disabilities. The narrator changes a variety of things about himself through out this short story and learns to not judge a book by its cover, meaning get to learn who someone truly is before deciding if you are going to like them or not.

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