Cathedral Questions and Answers
by Raymond Carver

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What is the thematic meaning of blindness in Carver's story "Cathedral", and what are the methods of revealing character?

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In Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral," the narrator's narrow-mindedness at the start of the story functions as his metaphorical blindness to the lives of others that are different from his own. Ironically, it is a bonding experience with a blind man named Robert that reveals to the narrator his own figurative inability to see the world in as full and rich a manner as Richard sees it. Thanks to Robert, the narrator's eyes are opened to the possibilities of a beautiful and interesting life outside the realms of what the narrator previously thought possible.

By exploring the theme of blindness in this way, Carver exposes the reader to his or her own possible experiences with figurative blindness, or rather, closed-mindedness. Carver takes a reasonable anxiety around a new experience (meeting a blind man for the first time) and explores the anxiety as well as the remedy with simplicity, sensitivity, and detail. In this way, Carver not only reveals the character of the anxious narrator...

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