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Theme and Narrative Elements of Cathedral

In: English and Literature

Submitted By amlaporte69
Words 856
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In Raymond Carver’s story Cathedral, our narrator recounts his first meeting with a blind man using a first-person point of view, “the main character is telling the story from their point of view and of course using the 'I' form. This viewing of events largely through a character's eyes is called an internal point of view. We may not experience everything they do but events are mostly seen through their eyes, with an insight into their thoughts and feelings and often with comments on the situation,” (Sanger, 1998, pg 13). Robert is no ordinary blind man though, he and the narrator’s wife are friends and Robert has come for an overnight stay. “This blind man, an old friend of my wife’s, he was on his way to spend the night,” (cited in Clugston, 2010, sec. 8.3, para 2).
The narrator initially sets the theme of the story with his stereotype of blindness, “My idea of blindness came from movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to,” (cited in Clugston, 2010, sec. 8.3, para 2). The narrator’s stereotypical thoughts continue throughout the story, “I remember having read somewhere that the blind didn’t smoke because, as speculation had it, they couldn’t see the smoke they exhaled. I thought I knew that much and that much only about blind people. But this blind man smoked his cigarette down to the nubbin and then lit another one,” (cited in Clugston, 2010, sec. 8.3, para 2).
Carver makes it obvious that the narrator is insensitive, not only to Robert, but also toward his wife. His wife is excited and happy that her old friend is coming to visit, the narrator shows his arrogance toward the friend’s visit when he asks his wife if he should take the blind man bowling, only to elicit an undesirable reaction from his wife, “…goddamn it, his...

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