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carver's story

The narrator of Raymond Carver’s story “Cathedral” is not worthy of our sympathy for many reasons. He’s far too wicked with the blind. Besides being selfish, cynical, even racist to a point, he’s also quite indifferent and somewhat intolerant but most of all, a very jealous man.

To begin, the narrator of this piece is a pretty careless character; you can tell this from the way he speaks his mind and describes every little thing the three – the storyteller, his wife and blind man Robert – do. As cold as he may be, the narrator has also some embarrassing moments. Nonetheless, he often gets bored; like when his wife would chatter with her old friend of things that had happened to the two of them these past ten years. He prefers to sit and wait to hear one of the two utter his name aloud but it does not seem to happen.

Next, let’s talk about how this man is rather narrow-minded. This storyteller does seem to have a mere sarcastic attitude, which will sometimes make him judgmental. For example when he states the following: “A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to” (Carver 477). At this juncture, he’s being fussy regarding the blind. The narrator tends to repeat over and over again the expression ‘blind man’. This shows how he’s very judgmental and can not bear but a moment with these kinds of people. He even describes at the beginning how: “My [his] idea of blindness came from the movies. In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs” (Carver 477). Still he gives Robert a chance, since Robert is an old friend of his wife’s.

Finally, the narrator is none other than a jealous little man. He gets easily annoyed and fed up over many different matters. For instance, there’s one point where he explains how his wife and the blind man would keep in touch by sending each other tapes. The way he laid it out gave the impression that he was pretty much irritated. “The blind man made a tape. He sent the tape. She [the narrator’s wife] made a tape.

This went on for years” (Carver 477-78). There’s also a point where he points out the following: “I heard my own name in the mouth of this stranger, this blind man I didn’t even know! … Maybe it was just as well. I’d heard all I wanted to” (Carver 478). Here he shows a great amount of jealousy for a very peculiar cause. His wife had just made him listen to a tape that Robert had sent her, and the married couple both got interrupted right when they heard Robert speak the husband’s name. That had really aggravated the narrator. Then again he thought, it’s probably best he doesn’t know what it is Robert was about to say after all.

As a final note, most of what’s been said right above is mainly to prove why we shouldn’t feel bad for this storyteller. After all, he’s got one little too many negative attitudes; from being careless to judgmental and then to being an insanely jealous person. There’s simply no reason for us to feel sorry for this man. Do you honestly find there’s a reason for us to feel sorry for someone who treats the blind like monsters?
Published: 2006-05-14
Author: Lucille Dana

About the author or the publisher
Born in the city of Montreal, in the year 1987, in a loving home and surrounded by the most wonderful family, I was their little Lulu. Always the shy one in class, would always listen to teachers and do well on class assignments. I would almost never make any spelling or grammar mistakes which was why I decided to do something with this talent of mine. That was when I began writing my own poems, short stories, essays, articles, and many more.

More about me on my website.

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