Raymond Carvers “ Cathedral” depicts a scenario where the narrator experiences a inner transformation. This transformation happens when the narrator sketches a cathedral with his eyes closed. Sketching the cathedral, opened his inner eyes to greater things that lie beyond the physical environment of his world. The epiphany occurs when the narrator shuts out the physical environment and focuses solely on drawing the cathedral with his heart. The narrator who once lived life appreciating the physical elements of life altered his way of thinking while connecting with his inner self. Although Cathedral tells a story of an individual reaching epiphany, ultimately,it is story that depicts how internal blindness distorts reality from being physically seen.
In the story, the narrator exemplifies ignorance when presented with the reality of life. Likewise, his ignorance prevents him from seeing life beyond the scope of the physical element. The narrator is consumed with the influence of media and society in viewing the realities of life. “ And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from the movies. “(78) The narrator's ideology of reality was formed by media and society. In the context of “Cathedral” media and society portrayed successful individuals as ones with various materialistic and physical attributes. Likewise, throughout his narration, his focus is on the physical and materialistic aspects of life. “ The man she was going to marry at the end of the summer was in officer's training school. He didn’t have any money, either.” The narrator is incompetent to recognize that relationships rely on deep emotional attachment, therefore, he has a difficult time to comprehend the relationship between his wife and the old man.
The major conflict in the story is seen through the narrator's willful ignorance in realities of life. Due to this willful ignorance, he fails to recognize his wife's emotional needs. He fails to attend his wife's emotional needs because his view of reality and life revolves under what is perceived in the physical realm. “ She was always trying to write a poem. She wrote a poem or two every year, usually after something really important had happened to her.” The narrator depicts a willful ignorance of the emotional attachment between his wife and poetry. He fails to see that his wife cannot express herself to him, therefore, she relieves her emotional feelings through the means of poetry. Being ignorant of his wife's feelings shows the lack of emotional attachment between him and his wife.
In accordance, the narrator is also willfully ignorant about the blind man's marital relationship. “ They'd married, lived and worked together, slept together-had sex, sure- and then the blind man had to bury her.”(80) He sees marriage between the blind man and his wife from a physical standpoint, but fails to understand the emotional attachment between them . The narrator advocates that they lived, worked, and slept together...