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Reviewing Raymond Carvers Short Story Cathedral English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 762 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral” was very interesting. The mailing of tapes allows communication, between the visually impaired and the seeing. The story is focused on a blind man and his relationship with the narrator’s wife; also, how the narrator, himself, feels about this relationship. Robert, the blind man, knew everything there was to know about her life. He knew about her husband, her wants, and her problems. She knew the same about his life, as well. Robert and her experiences made many connections involving their past. They both loved and lost. Robert’s loss dealt with death while her loss was by choice. This makes them even more connected on a deeper level; even if the connection, was after she moved from Seattle. Blindness by jealousy, not only hurts the jealous person, but also hurts everyone around them.

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Blindness in Cathedral can be expressed in two different ways. One way is the actual medically blinded man named Robert. The other way is the blindness of jealousy; the narrator has, toward Robert. Unfortunately, the narrator is not comfortable with Robert and his wife’s relationship. He feels that their friendship is more than it seems. In the story the narrator was being almost sarcastic. He asked rude questions like, “What side of the train did you sit on, by the way?” He used questions that would make his wife frustrated. Action’s like that show his blindness toward the relationship. The narrator almost makes himself look like an idiot at times. His rude comments and gestures make him seem as though he feels inferior to Robert.

The narrator hardly ever uses anyone’s actual name. This makes the narrator seem distant to what is happening around him. He fails to see the good and only see’s the negative. As stated in “A Narrator’s Blindness in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” Bethany talks about how the narrator consistently refers to Robert as “the blind man” even after he knows his name. (par. 2; page 43) This is very significant in the fact that the narrator is jealous of Robert. He “forgets” to use his name and instead calls him blind consistently, to make himself feel more inferior.

At first glance, the story seemed like it was going to be about God and church. In all honesty, this story might have God as a hidden agenda. Every story is meant to teach a lesson. Cathedral teaches many lessons. While reading, it felt like Raymond Carver meant to teach his readers, that there is good in every situation a person face’s in life. A person may not see the good at the moment; the good will be seen at some point with time. Even though, Robert was blind, in this story, he was not the only one that was blind.

The narrator in Cathedral becomes blind sighted by his jealousy of Robert. This jealousy causes the narrator to fail at seeing the good, in the situation of his wife being friends with Robert; which, makes him look stupid at the end of the story. The narrator realizes that Robert is actually a great guy, and feels a little down about making rude and distrusting comments. The story felt as if the narrator kept trying to figure out how the blind man absorbed information. Underneath, all of the narrator’s hate toward Robert, as time went by he began to develop an interest in the way Robert learned. While watching television he asked Robert, “Do you have any idea what a cathedral is?” “What they look like, that is?”The narrator became very interested in how Robert knew or could describe a cathedral. Robert could not vividly describe the cathedral; he was only able to regurgitate what he heard about them on television.

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Toward, the end of the story I noticed that the woman was not spoken of. I then realized that cathedral does have to do with God. The God factor is a much hidden meaning within the story. I figured out that when the two men, sat down together and watched television, they were drifting closer and closer together. They began to form a male bond; this bond shows that God will bring a person through struggles in life but, in the end everything important will come together. For Robert, everything did finally come together. His best friend’s husband and he bonded, over drawing a cathedral, over drawing God’s worship area. All of this information can only come to the reasoning that this story is about God, and about how jealousy can ruin relationships in life.


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