Cathedral 2 Essay, Research Paper
The story is about a blind man who visits a married couple. He is an old friend of the wife, but the husband does not look forward to see the blind man (called Robert) because he does not know what to expect. He has never known any blind persons and his picture of these is based on a very little foundation. He has a lot of prejudices against Robert, but during his visit he changes his opinion about him. While watching TV together they get each other to know better and the husband finds out that he actually likes his company. They watch a program about cathedrals and while talking about cathedrals, Robert says that he does not even know how a cathedral looks like. The husband tries to explain what a cathedral is and how it is built, but Robert does not understand it. Therefore he suggests that they can draw one together. In that way Robert gets a picture of a cathedral in his mind and even though it is not as good as seeing it with his own eyes, it is good enough to give him an idea of what a cathedral is.
I think there are may different themes in this short story. For instance, I think that prejudices is one of the main themes which is shown through the husband s way of react, when he hears that a blind man is coming. Because he does not know what to expect, he imagines a man, totally different, who does not have the same habits or knows the same thing as normal people.
I remembered having read somewhere that the blind did not smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn t see the smoke they inhaled.
Here he gets his first surprise, when he sees that the blind man actually do smoke. Maybe he realises that even though he has read something in a book it does not necessarily give you the right impression of whatever is described. You have to discover something yourselves and make your own experiences. He has no friends and therefore he probably does not experience so much. Considering the fact that he has never known any blind persons it is a matter of course that he feels unsafe. At the same time he probably feels jealous because of the recently death of Robert s wife and therefore he is very hesitating about his visit. After a while he has found out that Robert is almost like other people and his relation to him changes radically. He understands how important it is to have somebody to talk to and he learns to appreciate company. As his wife said in the beginning he has no friends, but after talking to Robert I am sure that he has learned to look at other people in a different way.
I also think that feeling sorry for people with handicaps is an important theme in this short story. When you see a person in a wheelchair many people automatically step to the side to let the person pass, open doors for him/her etc.. I think there is no reason to do this. I know that people do it to be friendly towards the person, they think his helpless, but the fact is that they can do much more than people think they can. It is very difficult for a disabled person to face the fact that they do not have the same possibilities as normal people to do what they want, and when they time after time are told (indirectly) that they are different it is difficult not to lose their courage.
Compared to the story, I think the husband fears that he will lose all the attention from his wife and that the focus now will be on the blind man only. His seems afraid of losing the normal attention he gets from his wife.
Considering my statements above, I think that the writer, Raymond Carver wants to tell that even though some people are blind or handicapped, you have to accept them and treat them the same way as all other people you know. Compassion will rarely give any good results.