Discuss "Cathedral" as a story "the blind leading the blind".

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sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The symbolism in this story is pretty thinly veiled.  The narrator is unable to see the world around him - he is lost in himself, his own thoughts, fears, and prejudices.  The result of this is that the narrator is unfulfilled in his life and unhappy - not to mention lonely.  He has his wife, but no friends.

Robert, however, who has so little, is very happy and fulfilled.  His many senses allow him to "see" the world he lives in.  He is able to understand that the narrator's behavior to him is because of both fear and jealousy, and does not become offended by it.  He remains patient and kind, and is eventually able to get the narrator to relax around him.

Once the narrator does relax, Robert is able to "lead" him.  Robert starts by asking the narrator to describe when he sees on TV.  When the narrator is unable to, Robert instructs him to get pen and paper so that they can experience the "creation" of the image together.

‘‘'Go ahead, bub, draw,' he said. 'Draw. You'll see. I'll follow along with you. It'll be okay. Just begin now like I'm telling you.'’’

Here with have the emotionally blind narrator leading the physically blind Robert.  And although the scene doesn't change, their positions do.  By opening the narrator up to this experience, the mind of the narrator is opened up.  His view of the world expands and he expands with it:

‘‘It was like nothing else in my life up to now.’’