From Confusion to Understanding In Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral”, the main character Bub goes from a somewhat constrained position on his wife’s longtime blind friend Robert, to one of open-mindedness. At the beginning of the story, Bub fails to comprehend why his wife has such a long-standing relationship with a blind man, much less why she invites him to stay with them for a short while. Bub is even more puzzled by Robert when speaking with his wife about Robert’s deceased wife Beulah, asking, “Is she a Negro?” (270). As the story progresses, Bub is slow to warm up to Robert, despite the numerous requests of his wife and Robert’s almost normal demeanor. It is not until after dinner that Bub actually sees Robert as a person, and not a handicap. Despite this, Bub is not one to interact with Robert, for Robert and Bub’s wife are engaged in a conversation that Bub feels uncomfortable in. At one point, Robert, Bub’s wife, and Bub are all sitting on the sofa in that respective order, when Bub’s wife, representing the bridge between Bub and Robert, falls asleep, and thus the collapse of the bridge separating the two. The news program they are watching on TV then ends, and a documentary on cathedrals begins. Because Robert is unable to see the cathedrals, he asks Bub to describe them for him. Bub then finds it difficult to describe them to him, until Robert asks Bub to draw out a cathedral. Bub begins to draw them, but with Robert’s hand on Bub’s. Robert then says to Bub, “Close your eyes,” (270) and it is not until this point that Bub finally understands Robert and the world in which he lives. Finally, Bub acquires a firm grasp of Robert and understanding of his world and it truly is “something”….
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