Cathedral by Raymond Carver
Cathedral: A Lesson for the Ages
Raymond Carver’s short story, “Cathedral,” portrays a story in which many in today’s society can relate. We are introduced from the first sentence of the story to a man that seems to be perturbed and agitated. As readers, we are initially unsure to the reasoning’s behind the man’s discomfort. The man, who seems to be a direct portrayal of Raymond Carver himself, shows his ignorance by stereotyping a blind man by the name of Robert, who has come to stay with he and his wife. From the very beginning, Carver shows his detest for Robert but over the course of the story eases into comfort with him and in the end is taught a lesson from the very one he despised.
The story begins with a description of the relation’s between he, his wife and Robert. It is unveiled that Robert employed Raymond Carver’s wife, whose name is never stated, ten years previous by having her read reports and case studies to him since his blindness would not permit him to do it himself. She hadn’t seen him since those days but “she and the blind man kept in touch. They mailed tapes and sent them back and forth.” (506) The story also is set up by briefly describing Carver’s wife’s past relations with her first husband. Their past marital troubles seem to be a main basis for the wife’s and Robert’s extended contact. After this background history, the story then jumps into the present with the Blind man on his way to stay for a night.
The blind man is invited to stay with the Carver’s by Raymond’s wife for he has just been through the death of his own wife and is now alone. Even this being the case, Raymond Carver’s distaste for the blind man is evident from the first paragraph on. “I wasn’t enthusiastic about his visit. He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me.” (506) Carver’s distaste for Robert is blatantly apparent even subsequent to his arrival at their home. It also becomes quite clear that his wife disapproves of his attitude toward Robert and fails to see how he could be so self-centered. “My wife finally took her eyes off the blind man and looked at me. I...