Raymond Carver's Short Story "Cathedral" Research Paper

Total Length: 1913 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 6

Page 1 of 6

Robert lost his wife, he is blind, and he is forced to interact with a person that the narrator believes he feels attracted to. All of these problems seem to be unimportant for the man and this influences the narrator in acknowledging his personal misery. The narrator accepts that he is doomed to being miserable because he is unable to appreciate life and the privileges that nature provided him with (Saltzman 154).

The narrator changes his thinking several times in the evening when Robert comes to visit. He initially believes that Robert is a typical blind man that one can see in motion pictures, he later comes to be frustrated with the man's open nature, and he eventually ends up acknowledging that this is an impressive person. The narrator's "experience with Robert, and attempting to experience the world from Robert's perspective, opens up a whole new way of looking at the world" (Cathedral: Shmoop Literature Guide 7). However, what is really intriguing about Carver's story is that he shows the narrator as being a changed man as he is under the influence of alcohol and marijuana. Although it is difficult to believe whether or not this changes his understanding of episodes that he experiences, it is nonetheless interesting to consider that Carver wanted his readers to understand that these two substances make it possible for people to see the bigger picture.
The narrator's wife has a tumultuous background and the fact that she tried to commit suicide as a result of being unhappy in her last marriage should have actually influenced the narrator in acknowledging the important role that he plays in her life. Instead, he concentrates all of his energy in being jealous and in generally expressing reluctance to take advantage of life's beauty. Robert virtually opens his eyes and makes it possible for him to accept that he has everything that the blind man has not. In spite of this, the narrator is still unable to appreciate life similar to how Robert does. It is actually sad that it takes a blind man who is recently widowed to enable the narrator to change his attitude regarding life.

Works cited:

Campbell, Ewing, "Raymond Carver:

a study of the short fiction," (Twayne, 1992)

Hunt, Douglas, "The Riverside Anthology of Literature," (CENGAGE Learning, 11.09.1997)

Runyon, Randoplh Paul, "Reading Raymond Carver," (Syracuse University Press, 01.01.1994)

Saltzman, Arthur Michael, "Understanding Raymond Carver," (University of South Carolina Press,….....

Have Any Questions? Our Expert Writers Can Answer!

Need Help Writing Your Essay?