February 02, 2005

Seeing is believing?

The story "Cathedral" written by Raymond Carver was so intense that I could not take my eyes off of the words. I have never felt this eager to keep on reading before to find out what happened next.

(If you want to read another persons ideas about this story, I found a pretty cool website that seems to describe the story and it's connection in detail.)

In this story, a blind man's wife had just past away. While he was visiting relatives he decided to visit a woman who worked for him about ten years ago. The blind man, Robert, and the lady kept in close contact by sending each other tapes of their lives during the time they didn't see each other.

This was the very beginning of the story. The rest of the story started to upset me a little...

The ladies husband was being a real jerk. He seemed to not have any respect at all for the blind. He had this stereotype in his mind that was very disturbing. He was not at all excited about a blind man coming to his house to visit. He thought about Richard's wife and how he felt sorry for her. This was the part I was furious about. The husband said that the wife must have lived a horrible life knowing that her husband had never saw her face. He thought about how he could never see the expression on her face and how Richard's wife probably never received a compliment from her.

This, I believe, is not true. A blind man can see by using his hands. I'm sure this blind man has touched the face of his loved one every night. He could very well give her a compliment.

The one day I was working at the YMCA, I had the blind man come up to me, the one I mentioned in my previous blog, and said that he liked the way I smelled. He said he liked the smell of my perfume. I felt very flattered and thought that what he said was a very nice compliment.

In "Cathedral", I kind of took it personally when the husband was thinking these things. He is discriminating against people who he doesn't even know. He was amazed when Richard had a beard. He thought that blind people don't have beards. I wanted to smack this guy so hard.

Towards the end, the husband was drawing a picture of a cathedral, with Richard's hand moving over the pen with his, to explain to Richard what a cathedral looked like. Richard told the husband to close his eyes while he was drawing. When Richard told him to open his eyes, it seemed as though he couldn't--or he didn't want to. To me, I thought he was amazed with being able to see--without really seeing.

The last thing the husband said was, "It's really something." I was happy to read that last quote. It was as if the whole story came together to give the reader the point of why it was written. A man who has completely stereotyped and who seemed to despise the blind, was actually focusing on something he had never experienced before. He was beginning to see what Richard saw, without really seeing it.

Posted by Anne Stadler at February 2, 2005 09:03 PM | TrackBack

I thought the same thing about the narrator. "Jerk" was written in my margin several times in reference to him.

Posted by: Amanda at February 3, 2005 02:44 PM
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