Theme In Cathedral

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Raymond Carver utilizes his character of the husband, who is also the narrator, in his short story "Cathedral." From the beginning of the story the narrator has a negative personality. He lacks compassion, has a narrow mind, is detached emotionally from others, and is jealous of his wife's friendship with a blind man named Robert. The major theme in Cathedral is learning to accept others differences which can be seen throughout the whole story as you watch the main character transform into a well rounded character by being able to accept Robert for the way he is; being blind. A blind man named Robert is coming to have dinner and stay overnight. The narrator's wife worked for him for one summer about ten years earlier. The two became friends and have continued to correspond by using cassette tapes. The narrator, who lacks social graces, is apprehensive about having to entertain Robert. He does not know what he should do or say. Jealous of the former relationship between his wife and Robert, he is suspicious. He knows that his wife has told Robert about him and has probably complained about his faults. This makes him feel guilty and insecure. He later says how "I was not enthusiastic about his visit.... A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (100). Upon the arrival of his wife’s friend, the husband is ultimately uncomfortable around Robert because he does not know how to communicate with or act around him. His discomfort is revealed when Robert and his wife were sharing their experiences “about the major things that had come to pass for them in the past ten years” (100). He felt it was necessary to join in because he thought Robert would “think [he] left the room and didn’t want [his wife] to think [he] was feeling left out” (103). It is obvious the husband is overly involved with Robert’s handicap and fails to see him as a person with his
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