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How People Perceive Their Sight

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In the two essays “Cathedral” written by Raymond Carver and “Look at Your Fish” by Samuel H. Scudder they show many themes of sight and how people perceive their sight. Carver’s essay has a character named Robert who is blind. There’s also a character (called husband) who can see, but cannot see the meaning behind what he’s seeing. What that means is, if he sees a cloud that’s shaped like a dog, he’ll just see a cloud. He sees things as they are, not what they represent. When husband is talking about cathedrals he says “They’re just something to look at on Late-Night TV” (Carver).

In the essay Scudder wrote there’s a student who’s the narrator who is told to examine a fish and understand all the details. The essays “Cathedral” by Carver and “Look at Your Fish” by Scudder show that some people neglect their sight. What I mean by neglecting their sight is that in both essays the narrators are frustrated by it. In Carver’s essay the narrator is frustrated with the blind man Robert coming over. He has all these stereotypes in his head about them wearing dark glasses, having a guide dog, having a hard time doing daily things such as cutting food, and others. In his own words Husband says “… But 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” (Carver). This shows that Husband has trouble looking at the meaning behind things. He has trouble understanding that Robert is still able to function as a person and didn’t just give up because he was blind.

In Scudder’s essay the narrator gets frustrated looking at the fish after a while. There’s many quotes of him explaining how frustrated he is looking at this fish for a while but one of the biggest ones are “I turned it over and around; looked it in the face—ghastly; from behind, beneath, above, sideways, at a three-quarters view—just as ghastly” (Scudder). He also mentions how he counted the scales on the fish’s back and even put his finger down it’s throat to see how sharp it’s teeth were and found it to be complete nonsense. Eventually the day was over and he had to go home and thought about the fish even more and found the answer to what his professor was asking. In both of these essays they show a lot of themes of sight and how people understand what they’re seeing.

Scudder’s essay “Look at Your Fish” the narrator is in a class where his Professor told him to look at this fish and examine it for all it’s details. After a while he gets frustrated because he thinks he’s seen everything. After putting his finger down its throat (gross) he decides trying to draw the fish. The professor praised the narrator for this and said “That is right! A pencil is one of the best of eyes. I am glad to notice, too, that you keep your specimen wet, and your bottle corked” (Scudder). Carver shows a similar theme in his essay. At the end of the essay Husband starts drawing a cathedral with Robert. Robert asks him to keep his eyes closed, and husband says “But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do” (Carver). Husband had a realization of how Robert “sees” the world. These essays show how people can neglect their sight and take it for granted. Both of the narrators in this story get frustrated with sight in one way or another. Eventually in the end they realize how important it is in the end.

In Carver’s essay “Cathedral” Husband understand how Robert is when he’s drawing with him and says “But I had my eyes closed. I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do” (Carver). In Scudders essay the narrator gets really frustrated while looking at this fish all day to the point where he thinks about it when he goes home. He starts sticking his finger down its throat, counts its scales, and just can’t figure out what his professor wants him to look at. After this he even draws the fish and his professor was very pleased with him doing that. Eventually both of these narrators notice what they neglected. Sight plays an important role in both of these essays.

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How People Perceive Their Sight. (2019, August 27). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 29, 2022, from
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