The Cathedral Essay Research Paper The Blind — страница 2

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relationship. The narrator muses, They d married, lived and worked together, slept together and then the blind man had to bury her. All this without his having ever seen what the goddamned woman looked like. (Carver 1054) Here, the narrator s preoccupation with physical appearance is evident. Therefore, it is not surprising that he cannot understand Robert s marriage, which was entirely based on the emotional and intellectual aspect of a relationship. The narrator openly admits their marriage was beyond [his] understanding. His inability to imagine or even appreciate such a seemingly wonderful marriage further illustrates his blindness. In addition, the narrator s prejudice again plays a part in his naivete. The narrator cannot believe that Robert could possibly understand his

late wife’s emotions: A woman whose husband could never read the expression on her face, be it misery or something better. (Carver 1055) This statement shows that the narrator believes Robert, because of his disability, would be an inadequate husband. The narrator s belief Robert s physical blindness resulted in an inadequacy in his marriage shows he again has dismissed Robert on the basis of his disability. He is blind to the possibility that Robert can see, where the narrator cannot. But perhaps the best example of the narrator s blindness can be seen in a reference to Beulah: I found myself thinking what a pitiful life this woman must have led. Imagine a woman who could never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one. A woman who could go on day after day and

never receive the smallest compliment from her beloved. A woman whose husband could never read the expression on her face, be it misery or something better then to slip off into death, the blind man s hand on her hand, his blind eyes streaming tears her last thought this: that he never even knew what she looked like, and she on an express to the grave. (Carver 1055) The idea that Beulah continually felt an inadequacy in her marriage based on Robert s disability is undoubtedly a ridiculous claim, which shows an intense misunderstanding of love and life on the part of that narrator. Robert s marriage was most likely very intimate, and completely unhindered by his disability. The narrator s wife even commented that Robert and Beulah had been inseparable for eight years. But such a

love is beyond the comprehensive abilities of the narrator, who cannot seem to recognize the most important things in life. While a lot has been written about Raymond Carver, little has been written about Cathedral. Contributing writer Charles E. May in the Reference Guide to Short Fiction sites a change in Carver s writing style beginning with the stories contained in the same anthology as Cathedral: Whereas his early stories are minimalist and bleak, his later stories are more discursive and optimistic. (Watson 114) The few critics who have written specifically about Cathedral tend concentrate on that optimism, seen at the end of the story with the narrator s esthetic experience [and] realization. (Robinson 35) In concentrating on the final realization experienced by the

narrator, I believe the literary community has overlooked his deep-rooted misunderstanding of everything consequential in life. The narrator s prejudice makes him emotionally blind. His inability to see past Robert s disability stops him from seeing the reality of any relationship or person in the story. And while he admits some things are simply beyond his understanding, he is unaware he is so completely blind to the reality of the world.