Vivid Yet Pitch Black Essay

1613 words - 7 pages

"The Cathedral" by Raymond Carver is an exemplar of a literature with the use of realism in which a realistic, non-ideal, ordinary life of an individual is depicted to represent a wider meaning in life or the society. The anecdote is narrated through the narrator's point-of-view about a blind man, Robert, who is a friend of his wife. A theme is presented using a foil, Robert, or a character whose traits are ideal and contrast with the protagonist's to highlight some qualities in the central character. Throughout the story these differences are demonstrated along with the irony that relates to "blindness" to establish the matter of the inconsideration and lack of empathy the majority of ...view middle of the document...

The narrator also constantly asked for his wife's attention and showed his desire for her to care for him. When his wife and Robert " talked of things that had happened to them... these past ten years. [He] waited in vain to hear [his] name on [his] wife’s sweet lips: 'And then my dear husband came into my life'—something like that"(6). Another proof is his constant sarcastic remarks in which seemed almost intended to irritate his wife in order to get her attention. Nevertheless, their marriage was unwell. The narrator remarked that "[his] wife and [him] hardly ever went to bed at the same time"(9). On the other hand, Robert also loved his wife, Beulah, but unlike the narrator and his wife, he and his wife were "inseparable"(3). When "[Beulah] died in a Seattle hospital room, [Robert was] sitting beside the bed and holding on to her hand."
The relationships that most explicitly compare the narrator and Robert are those between the narrator's wife and the two main characters. Although being distanced from the narrator's wife for 10 years, Robert seemed to have a better understanding in the narrator's wife than the narrator did himself. And even though he was not her husband, the narrator's wife preferred going to Robert whenever she wanted to be heard. Robert listened to her troubles and gave sincere feedbacks while he narrator didn't appear to worry much for her problems. "[The narrator's wife] was always trying to write a poem [;] [s] he wrote a poem or two every year, usually after something really important had happened to her"(1). When she showed the narrator a poem she wrote about the experience of Robert touching her face, he recalled not "think[ing] much of [it]"(1). Although he acknowledged that" [poem]’s not the first thing [he] reach [es] for when [he] pick[s] up something to read"(1), he didn't at any rate seek to infer why the issue was significant to his wife. Other than that, the narrator and his wife did not verbalize their feelings which harmed their already fractured relationship. The narrator was obviously envious of Robert, but instead of discussing it with his wife he chose to express it through constant criticism which angered her. Robert, alternatively, attempted to understand and keep updated with her life, hence, "[he] asked her to send him a tape and tell him about her life"(2). Because of this, the narrator's wife was more open up with Robert and, consequently, resulted in them delivering a tighter relationship than the narrator did with his married woman.
These comparisons reveal the irony of Robert's and the narrator's disabilities. Although Robert is physically blind, he could see what lay beneath the surface of people while the narrator, who could see, was blind when it comes to insight and self-awareness. The narrator was judgmental and stereotypical. He initially made many assumptions about Robert according to what he witnessed in the movies where "the blind moved slowly and never laughed [and] [s]ometimes...

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