As Iron Sharpens Iron, a Friend Sharpens a Friend

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Michael Mirando As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend Christianity hasn’t always brought people together. In the early days of Christianity Christians living in Rome had to practice in secret to avoid persecution. During medieval times it was customary for landowners to incorporate a small chapels on their land for the landowner’s family and other occupants to pray and meditate. It wasn’t until the construction of public cathedrals that people gathered together in large groups to worship. Cathedrals became known as much more than just places of worship. They became a place to socialize, talk politics, and spread new ideas. This image persists through to today. From church bake sales to youth groups that get young people involved in the church through fun activities, paying reverence to God has become a much more social activity. This is the lens through which Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral” is viewed. The story centers on the narrator, an unnamed fellow who seems to be a bitter cynic, and a blind social worker, a friend of the narrator’s wife, who is spending the night. On the surface it appears to be a story about an unwelcomed visit from a wife’s friend, but when his wife falls asleep the two begin to draw a cathedral together and a narrative about companionship is revealed. In the story Carver uses the image of a cathedral as a metaphor for the narrator’s transition from isolation to fellowship. In the beginning of the story the narrator is portrayed as cynical and offensive while with his wife in their home. The story begins with the words “This blind man…” (Carver 1495). Now “this blind man” has a name, and the narrator know what it is, but the tone implied in this word choice immediately tunes the reader into the character of the narrator. This is a person who is judgmental, and lets the exterior of someone define them. To the
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