Carver a Different Kind of Essay

Total Length: 656 words ( 2 double-spaced pages)

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For instance, in the wife's poem, "she talked about what she had felt at the time, about what went through her mind when the blind man touched her nose and lips." The touching of the nose and lips is juxtaposed against the touching of emotions. Finally, the narrator achieves his epiphany via the sense of touch directly at the end of the story when Robert guides his hand towards a new level of insight. The narrator is literally and figuratively touched.

Finally, the literary elements converge to create irony. After all, the blind man possesses greater insight into the human condition than a sighted man. The blind man intuitively knows that the television is color instead of black and white -- not because he can see it with his eyes but because of what he senses from being around his hosts. The narrator's prejudices about the world are formed in spite of him being able to see perfectly well with his eyes. It is his mind that is blind, and for Robert the opposite is true. Irony also emerges in other ways in "Cathedral," such as the narrator feeling jealous about Robert but not towards the "officer," the wife's nameless ex-husband.
The spiritual awakening the narrator experiences related to drawing a cathedral at the end of the story has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity or religiosity.

Point-of-view, characterization, symbolism, and irony converge in "Cathedral" to convey the central theme that human beings see and perceive in multiple ways. A blind man symbolizes clarity of awareness, self-knowing, and wisdom. The sighted man represents the blindness of all humanity towards that which troubles, frightens, or worries them. The narrator's symbolic blindness prevents him from seeing the world as it is, and closing his eyes allows him to perceive the truth perhaps for the first time.

Work Cited

Carver, R. (n.d.). "Cathedral." Retrieved online:

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