Prejudice, Jealousy, And Redemption Essay

1086 words - 5 pages

Through a blind man, both the reader and the narrator of Cathedral discover how merely looking with your eyes and really seeing are two very different things. The blind man, Robert, though not able to physically see, has a more detailed and more understanding view of the world than the narrator does. This narrator, whom we know only as the nameless husband, views life in a shallow, superficial way. As the story goes on, it becomes clear who has the more comprehensible vision of life and of the world.
Before Robert even arrives at the house, it is easy to tell that the husband is an incredibly prejudice man. When he hears that his wife has invited a blind guy over to his house, he is not happy in the least. He instead begins to think about the bizarre stereotypes which he believes come with being blind and reveals his ignorance through statements like, “In the movies, the blind moved slowly and never laughed. Sometimes they were led by seeing-eye dogs. A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.” He already begins to judge the man without ever having met him, and when Robert walks in the door, he becomes surprised that he doesn’t fit his stereotypical ideas. “He didn't use a cane and he didn't wear dark glasses. I'd always thought dark glasses were a must for the blind.” He continues to watch him, however, critically studying his appearance and mannerisms. It almost seems as if he believes the blind man does not have the right to certain things merely because he cannot physically see the world as he can. As the night wears on, however, Robert continues to put certain of the husband’s ideas to rest. During dinner the narrator watches with admiration as the he uses the knife and fork on his meat. "He'd cut two pieces of meat, fork the meat into his mouth, and then go all out for the scalloped potatoes, the beans next, and then he'd tear off a hunk of buttered bread and eat that” He slowly begins to realize that though blind, Robert, too, is a capable person.
However, the narrator can’t seem to overcome the underlying jealousy he is experiencing as well. There are hints at this sprinkled throughout the story such as his apparent jealously of his wife’s former life and marriage. He quickly dismisses it as disinterest and adds an etcetera every time he talks about it: "She was in love with the guy, and he was in love with her, etc.”, "...married her childhood, etc." But the real jealousy comes with the connection between Robert and the narrator’s wife. He was the one who helped her through a very difficult time in her life when she attempted suicide and divorced her former husband. Robert and she were sending tapes to each other before the narrator and his wife had even met. He can’t help but believe that his wife is disappointed that he isn’t Robert. They lack the understanding of each other that the two share. He brings up, almost with...

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