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Well, let us start by remembering that we are told in the first paragraph of this incredible story that the narrator's wife and Robert had corresponded and maintained their close and deep relationship through sending each other tapes. One of the central themes of this story is the way in which we can redefine our idea of our senses and our perceived limitations of what it means to lack one of those senses, as the narrator himself experiences in his epiphany at the end of the story, when he "sees" the cathedral he has drawn without actually seeing it, and is forced to reassess some of his central assumptions about blind people. Therefore, perhaps it is fitting that we have an indication of this at the beginning of the story. The closeness and intimacy of the relationship between the narrator's wife and Robert is shown to have been maintained by the sense of hearing rather than of sight, challenging our own assumptions about how vital sight is by the way that this relationship is shown to be more significant that the relationship between the narrator and his wife, which has been developed using all five senses.
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