In "Cathedral", what is the narrator's problem with connecting?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator of "Cathedral" seems to be an awkward, unsophisticated, shy introvert who doesn't like strangers and especially doesn't like the blind man who is entering his life because he is a little jealous of him. The narrator's wife apparently had a platonic relationship with the blind man which was in some ways better than the narrator's relationship with his own wife. He and his wife may have thought they had a good relationship at one time, but it appears that their marriage is deteriorating, as many marriages will do after the so-called honeymoon stage is over. His wife is disappointed in him; she expected more of him, and he knows it. He is acting sullen and disagreeable because he feels guilty and rejected. He and his wife do not understand each other. He expects the evening to be unpleasant for him because the blind man and his wife will relate well to each other and leave him out. He is pleasantly surprised when he discovers that the guest is very easy to get along with. The two men enjoy drinking and smoking pot together. The whole evening is a big learning experience for the narrator and probably brings him closer to his wife, since he can understand why she likes the bliind man so much and can therefore understand her better. Drawing the cathedral together is a spiritual experience for the narrator. He communicates with another human in a way he never thought possible. The cathedral itself is symbolic, because the old European cathedrals were cooperative enterprises among many people who shared the same religious faith. That sort of communal spirit is rapidly disappearing in the modern world. The blind man is more spiritual because, being blind, he depends on other people and trusts other people. The narrator may learn to be more trusting, more caring, less defensive after this night.