Reawakening Robert, Revealing Raymond Essay

Submitted By tybutler1996
Words: 1254
Pages: 6

Tyler Butler
Composition 102
24 February 2014 Reawakening Robert, Revealing Raymond "The Cathedral", authored by Raymond Carver, first introduces the narrator, who employs the role of the emotionally grotesque bigot, then scribes in Robert, the man who serves as the agent of change throughout the text. Carver, reveals early on that the narrator is an anti-hero and Robert, though blind, is a man that can see life well beyond the people around him. Opposite to Robert the narrator often dismisses the idea of pondering his wife's emotions, and assumes the worst about the blind man employing his apathetic mindset through a majority of the text. The unnamed narrator uses his rudeness and devoid of faith mindset to establish his role as the figuratively blind character. Carver uses the narrator, the dynamic anti-hero, to reveal his thematic purpose: faith in humanity can be restored in even the most apathetic person if an agent of change is used to instigate an epiphany. This agent of change is an opportunity presented to the narrator in positive action by Carver, which is something that he often does in his writings. Carver often writes characters into his texts that represent the everyman, and this is why one can assume that the narrator stays unnamed throughout "The Cathedral". This symbolizes that this can be any man with an apathetic way of thinking. With the narrator being the everyman, Carver writes other characters that affect him throughout the text. Within the text, three characters are the main focus; these people all play a role in the character shift of the narrator. The wife, a flat character used to bring Robert and narrator together, Robert, dynamic and the text's motivator, and finally the narrator, the conflict invoker that finally accepts his role as the dynamic character in the end. He as the story's anti-hero is the purest form of irony. As a man who can physically see but is so closed minded that literally he stereotypes and judges others, which makes him in reality figuratively blind. At many times he stereotypes Robert as a stereotypical movie-oriented blind man but this leads us slowly to his shift where he starts to be impressed by Robert's completely unaided life. In the beginning before Robert arrives, the wife describes the man and the narrator envisions this old blind person, using the worst emotional empathy possible. "Right then my wife filled me in with more detail than I cared to know. I made a drink and sat at the kitchen table to listen." (Carver 438) The fact that the narrator does not engage in any sort of caring gives him this horrible, immoral, sense of deviation that creates a more pronounced revelation for his character shift. The audience's disgust for the narrator is what keeps us reading but it is his climaxing character shift that keeps us thinking at the end. It is this strong sense of apathy morphing into the hope to find faith in himself that makes the reader engaged enough to ponder the absence of faith in humanity. As a nihilist, if the narrator would of have chosen different paths it would not of have given the same hopeful affect as it did with all of his immoral choices. This being said, if he would not of made comments like, "was his wife a negro"(Carver 343), or "I didn't want to be left alone with the blind man."(Carver 437) he would not of made such a pivoting point to reach his epiphany. This would have had diminishing impact on the audience lessening the understanding of the author's thematic purpose or even recognizing the character shift. The character shift in the end wasn't him finally finding peace with his wife and something to live for, but just the idea that there might be the hope to engage in an emotional relationship with himself, then possibly others. "My eyes were still closed. I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn't feel like I was inside anything. "Its really something", I said" (Carver 344)