Overcoming Ignorance and Prejudices in Raymond Carver's Cathedral

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Words: 304 |

Page: 1|

2 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

Words: 304|Page: 1|2 min read

Published: Feb 12, 2024

In Raymond Carver's short story "Cathedral," the author effectively uses an unlikely scenario - a casual interaction between the narrator and a blind man - to comment on racial discrimination, prejudices, and stereotypes. The story conveys important themes about racism and racial prejudices, suggesting that they often arise from ignorance. The narrator's discomfort and surprise around the blind visitor reflect his lack of exposure to blind people and his inability to see their humanity.

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Carver establishes a connection between ignorance and prejudices by using the metaphor of blindness to symbolize ignorance. The blind man's condition represents the narrator's ignorance about blind people and those who are different from him. However, through his interaction with the blind man, the narrator undergoes a transformation, indicating that getting to know people can help combat discrimination and prejudices.

The turning point in the story occurs when the narrator closes his eyes to draw a cathedral. This act mimics blindness and symbolizes his attempt to put himself in the shoes of the blind man. By momentarily becoming blind to the world around him, the narrator can focus on the task at hand and truly empathize with the blind man's experience. The cathedral itself represents sight and knowledge, highlighting the narrator's blindness to the needs and existence of others.

Ironically, it is the blind man who "sees" the narrator's blindness and ignorance. He challenges the narrator to draw the cathedral as a way to help him overcome his ignorance and gain a deeper understanding of the condition and needs of his fellow human beings.

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Carver's use of vivid imagery and powerful themes in "Cathedral" effectively portrays real-life issues such as racism and prejudices. The story serves as a reminder that ignorance can lead to discrimination, but by opening our eyes and truly seeing others, we can overcome these barriers and foster understanding and empathy.

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Overcoming Ignorance and Prejudices in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. (2024, February 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 25, 2024, from
“Overcoming Ignorance and Prejudices in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral.” GradesFixer, 12 Feb. 2024,
Overcoming Ignorance and Prejudices in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Feb. 2024].
Overcoming Ignorance and Prejudices in Raymond Carver’s Cathedral [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Feb 12 [cited 2024 Feb 25]. Available from:
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