In the story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver, the narrator is overwhelmed with disappointment and misunderstanding in his own life. He doesn’t see all the beauty and creativity In the world, but merely goes through the motions of life without actively living. Blindness Is an underlying theme In this story, but not only as a physicality, but a social handicap. The narrator may be more capable of sight than the blind man, but he knows nothing of the descriptive Illustration of life. It Is through the blind mans probing of the narrator, that he finally discovers how closed off and shielded he has been.
We can see a revelation in the narrator, and a transformation in his mindset. In the opening of this story, the narrator is closed-minded to the idea of a blind man entering his home. “A blind man in my house is not something I looked forward to” (1). It is through his resistance that we are introduced to his insecurities, and the layer of doubt that overcomes him. He is a simple man who lives a simple life. He loves his wife, but is not even sure what the love he has with her entails. His wife Is a very expressive woman, using poetry to describe feeling and emotion. He Is dismissive of her talent and more obviously, of her. Can remember I didn’t think much of the poem. Of course, I didn’t tell her that… Something to read” (1). They’re lack of communication Is what draws the woman even closer to the blind man. She shares an intimate and emotional bond with him that she has never been able to establish with the narrator. The narrator has many misconceptions built up in his head about the blind. “l remembered having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke… I knew only that much about blind people” (4). It was all he knew and all he really cared to know. There is a sense of discomfort imposed on the narrator with the blind man in his residence.
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Mainly because he doesn’t understand how someone without such a powerful sense can be so in-tuned with life. He was friendly at best with his own wife around, and was sure to be a good host. Asking If the blind man wanted any more to drink or to smoke. This Is an escape for the narrator. Being able to smoke and drink Is a way of drowning In himself and his silently miserable life. His routine Is the only consistency he has. “l got our drinks and sat down on the sofa with him. Then I rolled us two fat numbers. I lit one and passed it. I brought it to his fingers. He took it and inhaled” (6). This is somewhat surprising to the narrator.
He is being proven wrong right before his own eyes. His sight is deceiving him. It is in this moment that we see the narrator open up to the blind man, and by sharing something he enjoys with him, they take the next step into understanding each other. The blind man uses his knack in reading people to feel out the narrator. He is kind to him, calls him “pub” and tries to make his at ease. He attempts to expose the narrator for who he really Is and change his perspective. The narrator begins to feel comfortable around the blind man, after offering to put him to bed, is glad to have is company. I’m glad for the company… And I guess I was” (9). An awkward tension was lifted off his shoulders. HIS next step to being a more openly understanding person. Intricate, beautiful, statuesque old and timeless buildings, showing years of wear and elements on them. The shapes that form them are expressive of the different shapes life takes on. Square, triangular, simple, difficult, and the blind man sees in his mind to guide the narrators hand. “Never thought anything like this could happen in your lifetime, did you pub? ” (12). It is when the narrator closes his eyes that he has never en more clearly. But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do” (13). The blind man can feel the energy seeping out of the narrator. He feels what the blind man has always felt. A sense of purpose and fulfillment. “My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything” (13). There was no longer boundaries hindering his life. He felt free and outside himself and anything he’s ever known. He wants to keep his eyes closed because he’s found meaning in blindness.