I need help with Raymond Carver's "Cathedral."I need to write a 3-4 page essay on conflict in "Cathedral", yet I don't know where to begin. Can anyone please help me out? Thanks in advance.

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a conflict between the narrator and his wife from the beginning of the story. She wants to invite an old acquaintance to dinner. This man happens to be blind. The narrator doesn't want to meet the blind man because he thinks it will lead to an awkward and unpleasant evening. The narrator's introverted, anti-social attitude and his unkind, unfunny jokes about blindness irritate his wife, especially because she is fond of the blind man and has been carrying on a friendly correspondence with him for years. The wife's angry reaction to the narrator's social ineptitude and insensitivity is the main conflict in this beautiful Carver story. She doesn't understand that her husband is just shy and socially inept, like other male characters in Carver's stories. Her anger forces the narrator to accept the situation and try to be a good host. To the narrator's surprise, he and the blind visitor get along very well and he learns an important lesson from the experience. He learns, among other things, why his wife is so fond of the blind visitor. He learns to like him as well as his wife does. He will probably have a better relationship with his wife after their conflict has been resolved.