The Blind Husband in Carver’s Cathedral

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The "Blind" Husband in Carver’s Cathedral The short story "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver is about a woman who has a blind friend who comes to visit her and her husband. Although the husband has, technically, normal vision he is in the beginning of this story the one who is "blind." Through the husband’s words and actions when he is dealing with Robert, the blind man, we can see that the husband does not "see" or understand what Robert’s blindness means or how it changes or does not change him as a human being. At first Robert makes the husband very uncomfortable, for the husband does not know what to say or do around the blind visitor. As the story progresses, we can see a change in the husband; he seems to be able to see Robert as a person and not just as a blind man. One example that shows the husband is "blind" comes in the beginning of the story, before Robert arrives. When the husband and wife talk about Robert, the husband usually refers to him as "this blind man" (1052), and he never uses Robert’s name or assigns any human attributes to him. This shows that the husband does not really see Robert as a person, but just as a blind man who is different because he has a handicap. When Robert arrives at the couple’s house, the husband does not know what to say to him. The husband asks stupid questions about the view from the train: "Which side of the train did you sit on?" (1055). The husband knows that Robert cannot see the view, but he asks him these questions anyway. Also, the husband thinks to himself, "I didn’t know what else to say" (1055) which is a clear indication that he does not know how to relate to Robert. Both of these quotations show that the husband does not know what to talk about with Robert because he only sees Robert’s handicap, instead of seeing him as a complete human being who has emotions, thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. Not only does the husband not know how to communicate with Robert, he does not how to act around him either. A good example of this, shown after dinner, is when all three of them go into the living room. This is how the husband portrays what happens when they first enter the room: "Robert and my wife sat on the sofa.
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