What stereotypes does the narrator have of the blind in "Cathedral"?

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The narrator freely admits in the first paragraph of Raymond Carver's short story that his impression of what blind people are like came from he movies. He perceived blind people to be slow movers, often led by seeing-eye dogs. He also believed that blind people never laughed.

Another perception...

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The narrator freely admits in the first paragraph of Raymond Carver's short story that his impression of what blind people are like came from he movies. He perceived blind people to be slow movers, often led by seeing-eye dogs. He also believed that blind people never laughed.

Another perception the narrator had was that since Robert was blind, he could not have fulfilled the emotional needs of his late wife by complimenting her appearance. He cannot perceive how there can have been any joy in their marriage.

When the narrator meets Robert, he is surprised that he is not wearing glasses, as he believed that blind people always did so.

It seems to me that the narrator's initial reaction to his guest is not based on the fact that he is blind, but is rather a result of the closeness that the man shared with the narrator's wife.

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The narrator of the short story admits right away that he is uncomfortable with the idea of having a blind man, Robert, in his house and admits that he gets all his information about blind people from movies and the media. He says,

In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.

When he meets Robert, the narrator notes that he doesn't wear dark glasses, which the narrator had thought was a requirement. He mentions that Robert's eyes creep him out and that he wishes he did wear dark glasses. He is also surprised to see that Robert smokes, which he thinks is unusual, as the blind cannot see the smoke they exhale.

At one point in the story, the narrator recounts his wife's history of friendship with Robert. The tone with which he describes Robert touching his wife's face to imagine how she looked on their last day working together, and the way he describes his feelings listening to one of the tapes that Robert and his wife exchanged and hearing his own name come out of this stranger's mouth suggests that he is uncomfortable with and threatened by the relationship his wife has with this man and that this is the reason for his apprehension.

As the narrator hears more about Robert's wife dying, however, he is less hostile and more pitying. Still, though, he espouses stereotypes about how the blind are lacking:

Imagine . . . a woman who could go on day after day and never receive the smallest compliment from her beloved. A woman whose husband could never read the expression on her face, be it misery or something better.

Though he is at least compassionate now, the narrator still understands Robert by what he is lacking, ignoring any possibility of the joy he and his wife might have taken from one another and summing their relationship up as "pathetic."

It isn't until the end of the night, when the narrator decides to make the effort to describe and then help draw a cathedral with the blind man, that he begins to see Robert as an individual person rather than a stereotype.

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