The story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver is about one man’s understanding and acceptance of a blind man. The narrator, who remains nameless, he seems to be perturbed and agitated. He holds deeply unfounded beliefs and stereotypes of what a blind person should be, yet over a relatively short period of time he develops a bond with the blind man, whom at first he privately disliked. We quickly begin to see the narrator’s jealousy towards Robert; For example when the narrator thinks “ Just amazing” (322), we see clearly that it’s bothering him that his wife is having fun and laughing with her blind friend and therefore he’s sarcastically and ironically by saying that it’s amazing. He also makes jokes about his blindness, speaks about sightseeing and makes other ridiculous suggestions. We then realize he is only a naive jealous man who dislikes the fact that his wife thinks so highly of him, especially since he is blind and in the narrator’s eyes has nothing to offer. In the very first paragraph of Cathedral you get the first look at the narrator’s distaste for the upcoming visit with the blind man, “A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (320). On various occasions the narrator seems jealous of the relationship his wife and Robert share, starting on page 320 when he explains that on his wife’s last day of work the blind man “…asked if he could touch her face.
She agreed to this. She told me he touched his fingers to every part of her face, her nose – even her neck!” (320). The narrator seems to be deeply concerned about Robert being so close with his wife but later in the story his wife’s thigh is exposed and while he covers it he realizes that Robert cannot see her “juicy thigh” so he uncovers it again without a care. Early on, the narrator is rude and inconsiderate. As the story progresses, the husband’s attitude towards Robert changes, the husband realizes that it was he that was blind, blind in knowing people for who they are and not for their disabilities. While drawing the cathedral he shows him that even with his eyes closed the narrator can see things in a new way. Even when he is told to open his eyes, the narrator doesn’t want to at first because he is learning that seeing is more than a visual experience, it’s seeing with your mind and heart as well. This shows the audience that it is possible to break personal barriers and stereotypes.