Show why Robert in Carver's Cathedral, though an unlikely teacher, is able to teach a profound lesson.

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sagetrieb eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The blind man, because of his heightened sensitivity brought about by his deprivation of sight, could probably help the narrator "feel" again in any situation.  But here the situation is unique because the blind man has just lost his wife, making him more vulnerable to sadness, more aware of the loneliness in others because he probably feels lonely as well. Even thinking about the blind man enables the narrator to experience empathy, even if he his somewhat sarcastic because he is embarrassed about his thoughts.  He says "I found myself thinking what a pitiful life this woman must have led.  Imagine a woman who could never see herself as she was seen in the eyes of her loved one." The irony of course is that is the situation of the narrator's wife for he (metaphorically) closed his eyes and heart to her years ago. The blind man allows him to see again.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Robert is a caring, giving person who opens himself up to other people. He hasn't allowed his blindness to keep him from experiencing life to its fullest extent. The narrator and his wife are lonely people, and Robert has already made such an impact on the wife by touching her face. He has a similar impact on the narrator when he places his hand over the narrator's hand so Robert can feel him drawing the cathedral. Robert asks him to use his imagination to draw the cathedral by closing his eyes. This one touch of human kindness seems to open up the world for the narrator, allowing him Robert to break through his loneliness.