Witnessing Blind Edges Essay

2243 words - 9 pages

Literary tropes are used by authors as a means of figurative language in literature, i.e. they are a figure of speech in which words are used with a nonliteral meaning (“Trope” 1). With this in mind, readers come across the utilization of literary tropes in certain works of American literature. Specifically, readers encounter tropes in the short stories, “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, “Good Country People” by Flannery O’Connor, and “A Distant Episode” by Paul Bowles. Within these stories, disability is the literary trope that is explicated. In the literal sense, disability, in most cases, is a physical “restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being” (Lefers 1). However, in reference to the mentioned exemplars of literary trope, the authors of these works indicate that disability is not always physical. Rather, it can be mental, that is to say, one who is “disabled” cannot comprehend a particular conception. In the midst of disability in these stories, a sense of superiority is expressed by the main characters and each has a self-realization of some sort that extinguishes their feeling of arrogance.
First and foremost, the literary trope of disability is found in the short story, “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver. In summary, the story follows a couple who house a blind man for the night. The husband is our narrator and the narrator’s wife (neither of the spouses’ names are revealed to readers) declares that her friend, Robert, is coming to visit them. Robert is a blind man whose wife has recently died. The narrator’s wife met Robert while she worked as a reader to the blind. The narrator is not keen upon Robert coming to lodge at his home and is disconcerted with Robert’s blindness. Nevertheless, the narrator countenances Robert to stay at his domicile. During his stay, Robert and the narrator converse about many matters, e.g. Robert’s blindness and his former wife. Subsequently, they decide to watch TV. As they watch, the program they view begins to comment on cathedrals. Thenceforth, Robert asks the narrator to describe a cathedral, but the narrator’s attempt to do so is derisory. Notwithstanding, Robert requests the narrator to sketch a cathedral. As he does so, Robert places his hand over the narrator’s as he draws. While they continue to draw, Robert tells the narrator to close his eyes and after the narrator finishes the picture, Robert says to open his eyes, but the narrator does not. He keeps his eyes closed and feels a new sensation. The narrator is aware that he is in his home, but in spite of this, he feels as if he is not anywhere. As he has his eyes shut, the narrator remarks that the sketch is “really something” (Carver).
Within Carver’s short story, “Cathedral,” the literary trope of disability is exemplified through the narrator of the story. Take into account that although Robert is disabled physically, the narrator is in fact truly disabled. Robert being...

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