The Blind Husband in Carver’s Cathedral

The Blind Husband in Carver’s Cathedral

Length: 856 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Blind Husband in Carver’s Cathedral." 24 Mar 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay The Character of the Husband in Raymond Carver's Story Cathedral

- The Character of the Husband in Raymond Carver's Story "Cathedral" In Raymond Carver's "Cathedral," the husband's view of blind men is changed when he encounters his wife's long time friend, Robert. His narrow minded views and prejudice thoughts of one stereotype are altered by a single experience he has with Robert. The husband is changed when he thinks he personally sees the blind man's world. Somehow, the blind man breaks through all of the husband's jealousy, incompetence for discernment, and prejudgments in a single moment of understanding....   [tags: Raymond Carver Cathedral]

Research Papers
1110 words (3.2 pages)

Religious Revelation in Carver’s Cathedral Essay

-    At first glance, one might assume Raymond Carver’s "Cathedral" illustrates the awakening of an insensitive and insulated husband to the world of a blind man. However, this literal awakening does not account for the fact that the husband awakens also to a world of religious insight, of which he has also been blind. The title and story structure are the first indicators of the importance of the religious thesis. It is also revealed when one examines the language and actions of the characters in the story....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
1067 words (3 pages)

The Blind Heart in Carver’s Cathedral Essay

- The Blind Heart in Raymond Carver's Cathedral   A person’s ability to see is often taken for granted as it is in "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver. Although the title suggests that the story is about a cathedral, it is really about two men who are blind, one physically, the other psychologically. One of the men is Robert, the blind friend of the narrator’s wife; the other is the narrator-husband himself. The husband is the man who is psychologically blind. Carver deftly describes the way the husband looks at life: from a very narrow-minded point of view....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Blind Faith in Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

- Blind Faith in Raymond Carver's Cathedral      In the story "Cathedral" by Raymond Carver, the main character, goes through a major personal transformation.  At the beginning of the story, his opinions of others are filled with stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice.  Through interaction with his wife's blind friend Robert, his attitude and outlook on life changes.  Although at first he seemed afraid to associate with a blind man, Robert's outgoing personality left him with virtually no choice.  During Robert's visit, he proved to be a normal man, and showed the speaker that by closing his eyes, he could open his mind....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
914 words (2.6 pages)

Essay on A Blind Man’s Gift in Carver’s Cathedral

- A Blind Man’s Gift in Cathedral       In Raymond Carver’s story, "Cathedral," one man’s prejudice is overcome by another man’s gift. The husband in the story is given the gift of seeing a cathedral through a blind man’s eyes. The true gift comes from the cathedral, which represents the husband’s prejudice and the blind man’s open-mindedness. This gift is the revelation the husband experiences while he "looks" at the cathedral with his eyes still closed. According to Anatole Broyard "Cathedral" is "a lovely piece about a blind man who asks an acquaintance to guide his hand in sketching a cathedral he has never seen....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
894 words (2.6 pages)

Essay about Through the Eyes of the Blind in Cathedral by Raymond Carver

- Through the Eyes of the Blind in Cathedral by Raymond Carver You can never seem to know what's going on in another ones life, unless you put your feet in there shoes, so to judge, is simply ignorance. Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" is a story about how the narrator is uncomfortable with having his wife's blind friend, Robert, over. Roger has lost his wife, and to cope with her death, he planned to visit the narrator's wife. Without any knowledge whatsoever on how to act in accompany towards a blind man, the narrator seems to get a glimpse of what it is to truly fit into the blind mans shoe. The narrator starts his story very unenthusiastic about Roger's visit....   [tags: Raymond Carver Cathedral]

Research Papers
909 words (2.6 pages)

Lack of Vision in Carver's Cathedral Essay

- Lack of Vision in Cathedral The narrator in Raymond Carver’s "Cathedral" is not a particularly sensitive man. I might describe him as self-centered, superficial, and egotistical. And while his actions certainly speak to these points, it is his misunderstanding of the people and the relationships presented to him in this story which show most clearly his tragic flaw: while Robert is physically blind, it is the narrator who cannot clearly see the world around him. In the eyes of the narrator, Robert’s blindness is his defining characteristic....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
1250 words (3.6 pages)

Threatening Relationships in Carver’s Cathedral Essay

- Threatening Relationships in Carver’s Cathedral       Although many critics have written numerous accounts of Richard Carver’s "Cathedral" as being about revelation and overcoming prejudice, they have overlooked a very significant aspect: the unfolding of marital drama. The story tells of how a close outside friendship can threaten marriage by provoking insecurities, creating feelings of invasion of privacy, and aggravating communication barriers. The close outside friendship between the narrator’s wife and Robert, the blind man, provokes the narrator’s insecurities....   [tags: Carver Cathedral Essays]

Research Papers
1231 words (3.5 pages)

Cathedral by Raymond Carver Essays

- The story of Cathedral, by Raymond Carver, shows that you do not have to see someone or something in order to appreciate them for who or what they are. It is about a husband, the narrator, and his wife who live in a house. The wife, whose name they do not mention, has a very close friend who is blind. His name is Robert. Robert's wife dies, and comes to their house to spend a couple of days with the narrator and his wife. The narrator, whose name they do not mention as well, is always on edge because he does not really know Robert very well and he does not like blind people, but he is being friendly for his wife's sake....   [tags: Cathedral Raymond Carver Book Analysis]

Research Papers
1306 words (3.7 pages)

Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

- Raymond Carver's Cathedral 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....   [tags: Raymond Carver Cathedral Literature Essays]

Research Papers
1088 words (3.1 pages)

Related Searches

I took the big chair. We had us two or three more drinks while they talked about the major things that had come to pass for them in the past ten years. For the most part, I just listened. Now and then I joined in" (1057). The husband’s discomfort is revealed through his actions. He shows that he does not know how to act around Robert because again he does not see Robert as a person, but only as a blind man.

As the story progresses, you can see the husband’s attitude toward Robert starting to change. One example of this comes during their dinner, when the husband "watched with admiration as [Robert] used his knife and fork on the meat" (1057). The husband is obviously impressed that Robert can eat like any one else, and he therefore gives him credit for accomplishing this task. This incident is important because this is when the husband first starts to see Robert for who he is inside instead of just seeing his handicap. Another example that shows this change starting to occur comes after dinner. All three of them are sitting on the couch smoking marijuana. When it is Robert’s turn to smoke, he inhales and "held the smoke, and then let it go. It was like he’d been doing it since he was nine years old" (1058). This also shows that the husband is impressed with Robert’s actions, and it makes the husband start to view him as Robert the human being, instead of Robert the blind man.

Now the wife is tired and goes upstairs. The husband turns on the TV and a cathedral appears on the screen. Robert does not know what a cathedral looks like, so the husband starts to explain it to him. The husband is having a hard time explaining what a cathedral looks like, but Robert comes up with an idea. He suggests that the husband will draw one, while Robert has his hands on top of those of the husband. While they draw the cathedral together, the husband "rises with the spirit of the blind man as, with eyes closed and pen on paper, he leads the blind man’s hand over what he imagines the contours of a cathedral would be" (Weele 40). When they are done Robert wants the husband to look, but he has his eyes closed because he "thought it was something [he] ought to do" (1062). This is when the husband is no longer "blind" because he finally sees that Robert is person with the same thoughts and emotions as himself.

Works Cited

Carver, Raymond. "Cathedral" The Harper Anthology of Fiction: Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. 1052-1063.
Return to