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Cathedral Essay

1208 words - 5 pages

There are three major characters in this short story. Two of which stay unnamed throughout the story, the husband and the wife. The third character is a middle-aged blind man named Robert. He is an old friend and previous employer of the wife. It has been ten years since they had seen each other in person, but they kept in consistent contact by sending each other recorded messages on tapes. When Robert’s wife Beulah passes his old employee, the young wife, more than happily opens her home to him.
“Cathedral” takes place in the household of the husband and wife. The wife’s old friend comes to visit and he stays the night after a lot of traveling for his wife’s funeral. The ...view middle of the document...

This in turn makes the husband feel bad. Robert asks him to describe what a cathedral looks like to him. Cathedrals are extremely detailed pieces of architecture built over many years by many generations. They are all different according to which time period they were constructed in, and they are almost indescribable. Yet the husband still makes an attempt to give Robert a visual explanation hoping to help him picture one. His description however is not accurate, and Robert cannot imagine what a cathedral looks like.
We as readers can get an in-sight view on how the husband feels towards the blind man because this story is written in first person coming from him. In the beginning, background information about the relationship between the wife and her friend is given to us from the husband as he has been told. When their guest arrives, there is an uncomfortable tension coming from the husband towards him. It seems as though the blind man pays no heed to the snide remarks made towards him. We are unsure though because what we see comes from the husband’s eyes, and what we know comes from the thoughts in his mind. We are not allowed to understand what Robert is thinking or feeling because of the point of view this story is written from. However a sense of acceptance and contentment with himself can be determinded from the blind man’s actions and responses to the remarks made by the husband.
The wife’s character is constant throughout this short story. The blind man develops a little as he makes a new friend, learns about cathedrals and what they look like. The husband changes the most. He starts off as an uptight man that is unwelcoming and rude to his guest. Not only is Robert his guest but he is also in mourning of his late wife, Beulah. The husband does not show sympathy towards him whatsoever, he actually somewhat mocks him. There is judgment and ignorance hidden in the husband’s thoughts. He thinks he knows what blind people are like from what he has seen in movies, although he has no idea. He has an intense misconception about who they are as people. He has no idea that they can be self-sufficient, just like any other human being. He actually fails to categorize them as normal people. He even stated that he believes they “move...

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