The Mental Impact of Physical Disabilities
Not everyone in the world is perfect and many people face life changing disabilities that seriously limit their physical capabilities. Disabilities have the power to change the lives of people and these individuals can ultimately decide whether this is for the better or the worse. The fictional stories “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor, and “ Cathedral” by Raymond Carver paint parallels of the difficulties caused by physical handicaps and how these difficulties are applied to everyday life. While disabilities typically create hardships for individuals, they can oftentimes give them greater insight to how the world around them works and affect their opinions towards overall outlook on life, which will ultimately create different outcomes in certain situations.
Both stories illustrate disabilities in numerous different ways and show how these disabilities greatly have negative physical effects on people. In “Cathedral,” Robert is described as a blind man who cannot physically see the world around him. Robert is truly physically limited from his blindness and requires assistance from people other than himself to do minimal tasks such as dressing, reading and writing. At the same time, Hulga from “Good Country People” has a wooden prosthetic leg that severely affects her mobility. She gained this after a tragic hunting accident, where her father mistakenly shot her when she was only ten years old (O’Connor 119). Not only does Hulga have a wooden leg, she is also unfortunate enough to have a severe heart condition. She is limited by this condition because of the fact that it causes her to be very dependent on her mother, which does not allow her to travel far from her house very often. Physical disabilities are critical main ideas in both fictional tales and are illustrated in very different ways.
However, disabilities can have very different mental effects on people and they ultimately choose how these disadvantages will change their life, whether being positive in Robert’s case or negative in Hulga’s. Robert takes the world in stride and does not let his blindness totally get him down. He is very insightful to the world around him and truly listens to other people. This allows him to have good relationships with people such as the narrator’s wife. She met Robert at a job where she would cater to the blind by reading various types of literature to them (Carver 101.). She and Robert developed such a good attitude that they continued their relationship for ten years through recorded tapes, where they would share details about what was going on in each other’s lives in great detail (Carver 102). Having a highly optimistic view on life has lead Robert to develop an overall glass-half-full attitude. In contrast there exists Hulga, who seems to let her overall misfortunes with health totally ruin her happiness. Unlike Robert, she possesses an overall negative attitude towards life that turns her into...