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Cathedral Essay

926 words - 4 pages

Cathedral

“I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me” (99) the narrator tells us in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. An old friend of the narrator’s wife, Robert, is coming to visit them at their home. The narrator is not at all pleased with this situation and lets us know it from the beginning. Throughout the story, the narrator begins to see the blind man in a different light and his mind-set begins to change to admiration.

The narrator seems to be somewhat jealous at first of the relationship between his wife and their visitor. He says, “She told him everything, or it seemed to me” (100). His wife had worked for the blind man for one summer ten years ago, yet she continued to communicate with him via tapes. The narrator must have felt some sort of envy towards the man who knew more about his wife’s life than he, her husband did.

Not ever having “met or personally known anyone who was blind” (102) left the narrator at a loss as to how this man was going to behave or what they could do or talk about. He had read and heard things about the blind but Robert turned out to be none of these. The narrator thought “dark glasses were a must for the blind” (102) but Robert wore none. He had also heard blind men could not smoke because they could not see the smoke they exhaled “but this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one” (103).

Slowly, the narrator becomes interested by how the blind man carries himself and his abilities despite his handicap. During the meal the three were having, the narrator remarks, “I watched with admiration as he used his knife and fork on the meat” (103). After dinner, when they sit down to talk and have a few drinks, the narrator’s jealous side begins to peak through again when he says, “They talked of things that had happened to them- to them! - these past ten years” (103). “Robert had done a little of everything, it seemed, a regular blind jack-of-all-trades” (103). In this quote, the narrator is both envious, because of all the talk about Robert, and admiring of all the things that Robert has accomplished although blind.

As the night progresses, the wife begins to get sleepy and goes upstairs to change. The narrator tells us, “I wished she’s come back downstairs. I didn’t want to be left alone with a blind man” (104). At this point, the narrator does not know how to react to this...

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