Research Papers on Cathedral by Carver
Cathedral by Raymond Carver implores the reader to examine the true nature of one’s existence through the narrator of the story. The metaphor of the cathedral helps the reader understand that the narrator is acting out of metaphorically blind ignorance the revelation of his own significance is the basis of this epiphany. As Henry David Thoreau advocates the ideal of individualism and calls for the triumph of the creativity over the paralyzing influence of past genius, so Carver compels the reader to witness, through Bub, the transformation of blind ignorance into self-awareness.
Symbolism in Cathedral
The blind man’s drawing of the cathedral began with a square box, a symbol of the simple and ugly foundation that the narrator begins the story with. Example of this ugly foundation are numerous throughout the beginning of the story, such as:
- Offering to take the blind man bowling;
- Asking which side of the train the blind man wanted to sit on;
- Rude remarks about alcohol inferring the blind man is alcoholic.
However, Bub takes his hand and helps the blind man draw a cathedral. This scene illustrates Carver’s use of irony; even though Bub can see and draw the intricacies of the cathedral, the blind man is more self-aware of the world than Bub.
When his wife fell asleep, the narrator engaged himself in getting to know the blind man. Carver suddenly transforms the narrator into a sympathetic and gradually aware man. The narrator reflects, "He let his fingers touch the suitcase, which was sitting alongside the sofa. He was taking his bearings. I didn't blame him for that." Normally he reacted with a smart remark or quick scorn. This is the beginning of his transcendence, which Carver does in typical Henry David Thoreau style. Thoreau does not wish to set rules for individuals by laying forth these principles; rather, his mission in his works is to provide the discontent with guidelines, so that they may embark on a journey of self-improvement rather than complain of their hardships.