The climax in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” could be said to be the moment in the end of the story when the protagonist has his eyes closed and keeps them that way because he doesn’t feel...

The climax in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” could be said to be the moment in the end of the story when the protagonist has his eyes closed and keeps them that way because he doesn’t feel he’s “inside” anything.
Q: What is the significance of this moment and in what way does it relate to the title of the story?

 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The narrator is a man who merely resides in his house: He watches his wife go to bed at night, he sees no friends, staying at home and watching television. Even when his wife's friend Robert arrives, he sits and watches her go outside to greet him. But, when he experiences a spiritual moment of human communion with Robert as he draws a cathedral, the narrator closes his eyes that have been blind to what is within people so that now, with imagination, he may truly "see."

A man who places much emphasis upon the visual, the narrator has become a passive observer in his life and his troubled marital relationship. Ironically, it is a blind man who figuratively opens the narrator's "eyes"; that is, his awareness of the need for communication and tenderness with his wife, as well as the powerful significance of imagination.
Later in the night as he is alone with Robert and unconfined by the walls of his room and the screen of the television after it goes off, the narrator experiences true communion with his wife's friend when he draws the cathedral freely with his eyes closed--his pure imagination, that same capability that the blind man uses. He narrates,

I didn't feel like I was inside anything.
"It's really something," I said.

This experience relates to the title because the gothic cathedrals were built with new heights in an effort to reach closer to heaven and communicate with God during the troubled times of the Middle Ages.

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Cathedral

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