Cathedral Character Analysis

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At first glance, Raymond Carver’s writing technique of “Cathedral” seems rather simplistic, but after further analysis of the story one realizes that it surfaces many levels of complexities. Carver, striving to prove an optimistic view of human attitudes and attributes, changes his character’s ignorance and disgruntlement into self realization and eagerness. “Cathedral” illustrates how the comfort zone of an introverted man can turn into fear and ultimately a prison. Carver’s character, the narrator, is caught off guard when pushed beyond this comfort zone and finds himself enlightened through the lessons of a blind man. The opening of the story begins with a thought of the stay of a blind man, Robert. The narrator goes on to admit his discontent about the visit: “He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me” (314). In the story, it is evident that the narrator was ignorant to many facets of life. He creates a world in which he could place his thoughts, his feelings, and ultimately his innermost being. This is marked by his descriptions of the blind: “My idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs” (314). Despite the emotional and psychological disconnection, it is apparent that the narrator has some feeling. He recalls moments in detail and recollects the stories given to him by his wife with what seems to be great precision. However, the narrator is faced with quite the dilemma. When he begins to feel an appreciation for his wife he cannot express it, for he is trapped in the isolated and emotionless world which he created. The narrator’s wife brings the blind man home, drink in hand, already surprising the narrator; this is breaking one of the taboos set forth in his mind. He also notices that the blind man has a full beard, and he cannot seem to get over

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