Raymond Carver utilizes his character of the husband, who is also the narrator, in his short story "Cathedral." From the beginning of the story the narrator has a negative personality. He lacks compassion, has a narrow mind, is detached emotionally from others, and is jealous of his wife's friendship with a blind man named Robert. He never connects with anyone emotionally until the end of this story.
At the beginning of the story the husband is telling of a blind man coming to visit him and his wife. The narrator?s wife had worked for the blind man at one point. Since then they have maintained a strong friendship and keep in touch with tapes. The narrator talks about not looking forward to the blind man?s visit.
The narrator, his wife, and the blind man spend the evening talking, but eventually the wife falls asleep. The narrator is uncomfortable about being left alone with a blind man. There is something about cathedrals on TV and the blind man asks the narrator to describe what a cathedral looks like. The narrator only describes physical things and so the blind man decides that they should try drawing one instead. As they draw the blind man and the narrator connect and a transformation in the narrator?s character takes place.
Throughout the majority of the story Carver uses a variety of devices to portray the narrator negatively. One reason is that he lacks compassion. At the beginning of the story he says, "I wasn?t enthusiastic about his [the blind man?s] visit. He [the blind man] was no one I knew. And his [the blind man] being blind bothered me."
The narrator also feels intimidated by his wife?s relationship with the blind man. When he is telling of her friendship with Robert h...
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...r so long, after he stepped out of it he got uncomfortable and reverted back.
Robert tells the narrator to find some heavy paper and pencils so they can draw a cathedral together. As they drew Robert tells the narrator to close his eyes. There was a connection made between Robert and the narrator and he says, "it was like nothing else in my life up to now." Robert tells him to open his eyes, but he doesn?t because he doesn?t want the experience to end.
A transformation took place during the story and it is evident through the narrator?s character. In the beginning he was lacking in compassion, he was narrow minded, he was detached, he was jealous, and he was bitter. Carver used carefully chosen words to illustrate the narrator?s character and the change. Throughout the story his character undergoes a transformation into a more emotionally aware human being.
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