Raymond Carver's Cathedral

911 Words4 Pages
In "Cathedral," Raymond Carver uses narrator’s first person point of view and judgmental tone to express how intolerance comes from a lack of knowledge and ignorance. Additionally, Carver illustrates how Robert becomes the catalyst for the narrator’s transformation. The first person narration transfers the narrator’s emotions to the reader. Carver creates a passageway into the narrator’s mind to enable the reader to see his ignorance. The first person narration demonstrates both the main character’s prejudice and enlightenment towards the blind man. The main character's reference to his wife's old friend as "the blind mind" speaks to the superficial and visceral judgments of the narrator. Throughout the story, the narrator maintains simple…show more content…
Initially, the narrator tells the blind man his stories, he uses very little detail and punctuates each abruptly. The moments the narrator actally carries an opinion, he usually dresses it through veiled mockery noted by Carver in italics or parenthesis. For example, when the narrator asked the blind man on which side of the train he sat he thought to himself, “Going to New York, you should sit on the right-hand side of the train, and coming from New York, the left-hand side.” The narrator wanted to trap the blind man and expose to his wife that his life has less meaning because of his disability. Eventually, the narrator begins to admire the blind man through his perceptions. The narrator observes, “I watched with admiration as he used his knife and fork …. It didn’t seem to bother him to use his fingers once in a while, either.” No longer is the narrator short and ignorant with his syntax. He uses descriptive language as the narrator tries to wrap his head around the blind man's complexities. Nevertheless, the tone does not shift completely until the blind man asks the narrator to draw him a cathedral. After the narrator's failed attempts to describe a cathedral, since he has no faith, the narrator realizes that he is the charlatan, and the blind man sees beyond the narrator's ignorances. Unlike the narrator, however, the blind man shows grace and wisdom and offers the narrator a chance to collaborate in drawing the cathedral. Ultimately, this connects the narrator and blind man in the narrator's epiphany, cemented through the wife's surprise. After the narrator initially states that "cathedrals don’t mean anything special to me. Nothing… That’s all they are," he now has the realizes that, "It’s really something”. Carver's language has transformed as the narrator discovers his epiphany
Open Document