What is the main theme of Cathedral by Raymond Carver?

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The main theme of “Cathedral” is that human connection occurs in various forms and degrees. The characters illustrate that people have different ways and abilities to connect and relate to others; some are more successful than others.

Connections between spouses may be expected to be stronger than connections between non-related people, but Carver illustrates this is not necessarily and consistently true. The married couples—the narrator and his wife as well as the wife and her first husband, an officer—do not seem to have particularly strong, close relationships. The narrator cannot understand his wife’s enduring friendship with the blind man Robert, for whom she read one summer ten years ago. He doesn’t “think much of” or even seem to try to understand her poetry she wrote regarding her bond with Robert. Before Robert visits them, the narrator expresses his reluctance to host his wife’s longtime and long-distant friend. In fact, he himself doesn’t “have any...

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