Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Cathedral by Raymond Carver is the story of an ordinary man living in the modern United States who narrates the visit of blind man who goes to his house to stay overnight (Carver 69). Throughout the narration, very little information is given on the time and place where the story is set and leads to a very vague perspective in term of the setting. Instead, the emphasis is put on the psychological transformations that the narrator (the protagonist) undergoes during the visit. Initially, the narrator is an unfulfilled and narrow-minded character without any faith. However, receiving a blind man in his home moves the narrator out of his comfort zone. Thanks to his leap of faith, he gains an insightful perspective and overcomes the loneliness of…show more content…
By seeing a blind person in real life for the first time, the narrator immediately notices the differences with his belief in what blindness is. Even though the narrator “[has always thought] dark glasses are a must for the blind” (Carver 73), Robert doesn’t wear any. As a result of his own prejudices, the dissimilarities between his conception and the reality put the narrator in an unfamiliar environment. The awkwardness felt by the narrator intensifies when he is left alone with Robert. In the absence of his wife, he recounts his thoughts that “he [doesn’t] want to be left alone with a blind man” (Carver 75). This reflects his unwillingness to leave his comfort zone and socialize with a stranger who is, on top of that, blind. Despite that resistance, the narrator finds the audacity to make a first move in an effort to socialize by actually caring about someone else’s opinion and views when he asks Robert if he knows what a cathedral is (Carver 78). However, the narrator notices his ineptitude to describe a cathedral only by what he sees because “cathedrals don’t mean anything special to [him]” (Carver 79). For the first time, his sight is proven to be insufficient to provide a full understanding of a place for the reason that the significance and purposes of cathedrals are unknown for him. Later in the night, Robert’s request for pen and papers destabilizes the narrator furthermore. He notices that his “legs [feel] life they [don’t] have any strength in them” (Carver 80). Given that art is also an unfamiliar element in the narrator’s life, he is stressed by the idea of having to face something new and different. For this reason, it is necessary to have faith in Robert and also in his ability to success for the narrator to
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