Raymond Carver's Cathedral Essay

831 words - 3 pages

The narrator in Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" has two fully functional eyes, in which he chooses never to use to their full potential. The eyes of the narrator are biased, insecure, jealous, and very limited in what they choose to see. This inability to see is made apparent when he is forced to meet and converse with a blind man. The narrator's perception of the world around him, and blurred vision, is resolved by a great irony in the story when Roger helps the narrator see past his prejudice outlook on life. The blind man teaches the narrator how to see.

The first few pages of the story reveal the narrator's blurred view of his own life, his wife's life, and the entire world around him. The narrator, "Bub", seems to have an unhappy and insecure approach to everyday life. The narrator's blurred view of everything that happened in his wife's past life, shows the insecurity that plagues him. When referring to his wife's ex-husband he says, "Her officer- why should he have a name? He was the childhood sweetheart, and what more does he
Want? -"(P721). By treating everyone generically and denying their importance, the narrator is trying to make himself seem more important in the lives of others. He simply calls his wife's first husband "the officer"(P720) or "the man"(P720). His refusal to even use his wife's name while narrating as well as constantly referring to Robert as the "the blind man"(P720) shows that he has decided to block out the importance of the people around him. He is even less considerate of Roberts wife, whom he refers to as "Beulah, Beulah"(P721). The narrator chooses not to see everyone around him as individuals, but as a whole group. A group he is scared to look at. The narrator's feelings toward Robert are of a negative vibe, but it is more than the disability that bothers him. The narrator is first aggravated by the fact that his wife talks of how she allowed Robert to touch her face. "She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose- even her neck (P720)! Because of the fact that his wife is so close to Robert, and is so happy in the event of his arrival, "I saw my wife laughing"(P722), "She was still wearing a smile" (P722), it makes it easier for him to judge Robert according to his disability.

The reader first learns of the narrator's prejudices toward the world around him and especially to the seeing...

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