Blindness In Cathedral

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The Blind Men of “Cathedral” In Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral,” the narrator’s personality is made clear long before the dialogue begins. For a protagonist, he is surprisingly uncivil. Perhaps even more striking, however, is the dissimilarity between himself and Robert, his blind visitor. In the beginning, they are near-opposites. Besides the obvious difference of blindness versus sight, the narrator and the blind man also differ greatly in their views on change, their manners, and the way they socialize. One notable distinction between the two characters is the narrator’s obstinacy versus Robert’s open-mindedness. The narrator is set in his ways. He is upset at the prospect of hosting a blind guest in his house (or any guest, for that matter), and openly admits that the visit is “not something [he looks] forward to” (137). When his wife announces the visit, he protests, “’I don’t have any blind friends,’” and his wife points out that he “’[doesn’t] have any friends’” (139). Robert, however, is eager to jump into new experiences and ideas, unafraid of change. He loves to learn about new things; according to him, “learning never ends” (144). Despite their differences, both men do seem to…show more content…
The narrator evidently likes to speculate, judge, and make assumptions, but detests interacting with others. His social skills are weak, to say the least. He does not seem to understand emotion very well either, calling Robert’s relationship with his late wife “pathetic” (139) simply because the man never had a chance to see what she looked like, and loved her anyway. The narrator's own wife is frequently annoyed at his insolence, giving him several stern looks and even losing her temper. He struggles to grasp the concept of empathy or sensitivity (perhaps because he exerts such little effort to do so). Robert is the opposite. He likes to chat, to learn, to get to know people without
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