Cathedral Questions and Answers
by Raymond Carver

Start Your Free Trial

Explain what the cathedral symbolizes to both the blind man and to the narrator in Raymond Carver's "Cathedral."

The cathedral symbolizes to both the blind man and the narrator in Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral” the possibility to apprehend a whole new dimension of reality. Through drawing the cathedral with Robert, the narrator is able to gain a glimpse into a completely different world, one that he’d previously never seen.

Expert Answers info

David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2017

write11,892 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics

For Robert, the blind man in Carver’s “Cathedral", the cathedral symbolizes a whole different dimension of existence. Though blind, he is able to achieve a remarkably powerful vision through the simple act of drawing a picture of a cathedral. It may be an aesthetic vision rather than a literal one, but it’s still a vision all the same, and it has transformed Robert's life accordingly.

The act of drawing and the powerful effect it has on Robert bear eloquent testimony to the transformative nature of art. Art can truly change people’s lives, broadening their horizons, giving them a privileged insight into a whole different reality. And that’s what’s happening here.

Robert wants to share his experience with the narrator, who despite being sighted, is initially blind to the cathedral’s cultural, spiritual, and aesthetic significance. It’s only when he draws a picture of the cathedral with Robert that he’s finally able to get a glimpse of a world outside his own, a world...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 817 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial