The Narrator In Raymond Carver's Cathedral

Words: 2323
Pages: 10

Amidst the muffled sounds of passengers, and my own heart beating feverishly in my ears, I could feel my nerves stirring a mass of fear within me. Sitting ramrod in my seat, my eyes widened with bewilderment, darted left to right searching for a familiar face, but it had seen none. The fear and confusion brimming within me were palpable, and in my panic, my small hands had gone to clench the arms of a woman beside me. And with that action, I had formed a human connection I would never forget. On that plane, the older woman whose hand I had grasped benevolently coaxed away all my anxieties with her words. She spoke to me of things that have long since faded from my memory, but the encounter alone has left me with a true understanding of the …show more content…
In the minimalist short story, the passive unlikeable narrator’s unexpected connection with a blind man named Robert pushes him to undergo a mystical transformation. A slightly similar mystical transformation earned from human connection is explored in Herman Melville’s 1853 short story “Bartleby: The Scrivener.” After the lawyer’s unexpected encounter with Bartleby, his perspective changes. The lawyer, like the narrator from “Cathedral,” undergoes a mystical transformation. After encountering Bartleby, he is enlightened. By characterizing the narrator as an unlikeable, passive protagonist incapable of connecting, and by exposing the mystical transformations the narrator and the lawyer (in “Bartleby: The Scrivener”) underwent after their profound human connections, this essay seeks to prove how impactful and important—unexpected—human connections are to one’s character development. Furthermore, this essay underscores the notion that profound human connections can occur unexpectedly and from unexpected sources, as seen in the narrator’s quiet epiphany during his connection with Robert. The narrator is no longer the same passive, unlikeable protagonist; he has