The Theme Of Blindness In Raymond Carver's The Cathedral

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Raymond Carver’s, “The Cathedral” is a short story told by the narrator, whose actual identity remains unknown. The narrator tells of an evening where his wife invites an old friend and former employer, by the name of Robert, over to spend the night. What differentiates Robert from the rest of the group is the fact that he is blind. It is blatantly apparent that the narrator or bub, a nicknamed coined by Robert, is close-minded and quick to make preconceived notions about circumstances that he is unfamiliar with, especially Robert’s inability to see. Upon deeper analysis, it is discovered that Bub makes ignorant judgments because his experiences are apparently limited and he is dissatisfied with the life that he has lived. This transformation…show more content…
The characteristic that Bub projects predominantly is the ability to be judgmental. He judges the life experiences and hardships that he does not seem to grasp. Bub’s judgments throughout the story seem to be solely placed on Robert who the narrator deems as “this blind man” (33). Initially, the narrator comments, “His being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies.” (33) The narrator had never known someone who was blind, he took a defensive and naïve approach to his condition. The portrayal of individuals in movies that have afflictions, especially those individuals who are blind, is most commonly out of the societal norm and only pertains to a small sample of the people within that population. As the night progresses, Bub’s unanticipated renewal begins to unfold. As the narrator and Robert watch the television, they begin to view a segment on Cathedrals. Through the reading, it is obvious that Bub did not care for Robert. However, towards the end of the narrative, the narrator takes a liking to Robert so much so that he begins to show compassion for him. Knowing that Robert cannot see the physical characteristics of the Cathedral that the program is showing on TV, the narrator began describing them to him. This moment is pivotal in the story seeing how Bub, who never seemed to do anything that was relatively selfless, takes into consideration this mans condition and shows compassion for him. Not only is the narrator’s transformation apparent through his depiction by the author but also by the way that he

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