The Blindness Of Physical Appearance In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Many people are quick to judge others simply by appearance. People do not always understand others nor do people take the time or have the knowledge to get to know someone for who they are. Despite the flaws in physical appearance, people in the world are destined to see beyond their disability. Through the dynamic character in “Cathedral”, Raymond Carver demonstrates how the act of looking indeed requires physical vision but the act of being able to see requires deeper level of engagement. Carver justifies his point that having the power to see is a gift and he illustrates this point by showing how the narrator evolves during a special visit from a dear friend. The narrator comes to realize that there is a difference between being able to see and being able to understand deep meanings which is proven when the main character experiences an epiphany and changes his beliefs.
In the beginning of the story, the speaker makes it clear that he lacks interest in getting to know Robert, which is the speaker’s wife’s dear, old friend. The narrator feels this way mainly because he does not know him very well and also he thinks Robert does not have much to offer because he is blind. The narrator says, “My 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.” (Carver 78). Not only does this show how the narrator frowns upon his new guest for being blind, but this also gives evidence of the narrator’s lack of knowledge regarding blind people. The narrator stereotypes Robert. He has preconceived notion about Robert that are predicated from pop culture ideas regarding the blind. The speaker also shows an attitude of witticism toward Robert when he says, ‘Mayb...

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...m, the speaker has difficulty in describing what he sees which proves the overall point that the ability to physically see isn’t always as valuable as being able to envision without seeing. After allowing the chance to get to know Robert, the narrator soon is able to accept him as a man rather than the stereotypical blind person he once saw him as. The speaker sees him with an even greater ability than he had previously imagined which was one that the narrator lacked himself. By experiencing his epiphany with Robert’s help, the narrator now understands the importance of not only being able to take your mind somewhere else but to respect the moments he once thought didn’t mean much such as his wife’s poems, the tapes, and even Robert. The narrator can see through closed eyes by looking at his own life itself in a different way by using his heart and his imagination.
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