Short Story "Cathedral" Essay

Submitted By riss140
Words: 949
Pages: 4

The short story “Cathedral”, written by Raymond Carver, is a beautiful story that describes the narrator’s journey to experiencing a true relationship in a life filled with empty ones. His journey leads him to view life through a different lens and realize all that he was missing. Carver uses ugly realism to show how the narrator does not know how to have healthy, loving relationships. The narrator is an ignorant, heartless man who does not even understand himself. Ironically enough, the one man, Robert, who helps him to finally view the world in a very different way, does not even have the ability to see it for himself. Robert is the one who gives the gift of spiritual sight to the narrator. He was asked by this man “Never thought anything like this could happen in your lifetime, did you, bub?” Robert taught the narrator it can be more important to see with your heart and not just through your eyes.
The narrator has a very dysfunctional marriage with his wife, which has begun from the beginning of their relationship. He does not have the appropriate amount of respect for her, as a husband should. His wife writes poems about important events and likes to share them with her husband. However, the narrator did not feel the same. “I can remember I didn’t think much of the poem.” Those were the husband’s thoughts on the life-changing event in his wife’s life. Their relationship is not intimate. They do not sleep together; he even refers to their room as his wife’s room. The narrator and his wife also have much jealousy in their relationship as well. The wife insisted many times she know exactly what was going on and became very angry when her husband and Robert were spending time together. They have a very distant and immature relationship but the narrator’s inability to have a healthy relationship does not stop at his wife. The narrator does not know how to form an intimate relationship with new people that he meets in his life. This makes it difficult for him to be sincere when Robert comes to visit. The narrator was not excited to meet his wife’s very good friend. However all he thought was, “A blind man in my house was not something I look forward to.” Most of the narrator’s behavior towards Robert was rude and degrading. The narrator did not speak to Robert until spoken to and was especially uncomfortable to be alone in a room with Robert. When Robert attempted to get to know the narrator, he agreed but then turned the television on instead and they continued to sit in silence. Their one moment shared was drawing a cathedral at Robert’s request. The irony in this was that Robert’s hand was on top of the narrators, as if he was showing him what to do. Robert had opened up the universe before him and the narrator wanted to hold on to that moment at long as he could. In that one moment, his life changed. The narrator has failed at many relationships in his life including the one with himself. His inability to understand with his own feelings leaves him at a disadvantage to understanding others and forming intimate relationships. However, Robert helped to change that for him. The narrator was missing out on so many pleasures of life without even realizing, such as friendship and love. He did not have any friends and he was not happy at his job. At home, he watched more television then make conversation with his wife. He is very shallow and often had preconceived ideas of others, such as Robert. He