Blindness can be represented in many ways, it does not have to be associated with just medical blindness. Rightfully so , the most blatant form of blindness is of our own circumstances and disregard for other peoples emotions and feelings. In “Cathedral”, the speaker of the story shows extreme emotional and an almost abusive demeanor towards the characters in the story. The narrator’s “emotional blindness” was very blatant from the very beginning. Throughout the story which is told from the husbands perspectives, he faces many different emotions towards the blind man. He somewhat mocks him, tries to belittle him, but ultimately he finds a bit of resilient and humbleness about himself by the time the story is over based off of the interaction he had with him. All of these issues as well as the husband having a moment of self realization are the main ides of the story.
From the very beginning the husband portrayed very strongly about having the blind man in his house, and how against it he was. He also showed no interest into understanding the disability itself much less the wife’s friend. He was very disturbed that his wife had allowed such a visitor into their home. “He was no one I knew. And his being blind bothered me. My idea of blindness came from 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 too.”(90). As you can see the husband was not shy at all about expressing his displeasure with having the guest in his home, and unfortunately blind people in general. He had made up a false portrayal of how blind people carried themselves, and was pleasantly surprised and had a total change of heart by the end of the story.
In the beginning of the story you get to see a glimpse of the relationship between the blind man and the husbands wife. There is also a sense of blindness shown here by the husband, because he fails to even know of the relationship his wife has with the old man or even when and how it began. This also unveils that their marriage could also be strained based off of the interactions the two have together. His wife gives the narrator, her husband an ultimatum to accept her old friend by saying, ” If you loved me you would do this for me.”(92) The entire story the husband is not fond of the relationship his wife shares with the old man, he is extremely envious and jealous throughout. Through experiencing this the husband starts to become softer and see and understand a different side of the man based off of the relationship he witness with his wife. It gives the readers a peek into what’s to come of the husbands relationship with the blind man.
The relationship between the two men finally took a turn for the better when the wife fell asleep and the two are left alone downstairs. The husband finally saw Robert, the blind man, for who he truly was. He was able to appreciate him for who he was instead of his disability. Through conversation Robert asked the husband if he was religious or not, and he responded ” I guess I don’t believe in it. In anything.Sometimes its hard. You know what I’m saying?”(99) This leads the reading audience along with Robert to believe that the husband is longing and looking for something he has yet to find. Robert becomes compelled to help the husband find understanding and peace in many situations. With his help the husband begins to understand that certain stances and ideals he had were very untrue and wrong and have always been, which lead to an epiphany within the husband. Many people today struggle with the notion to truly understand and “see” things for what they truly are. Many people do not invest or take the time to understand each other as a person or their feelings. It truly was heartwarming to see the blind man take the husband under his wing after all the ugliness he spewed towards him, just to help him grow and be a better man.
The men sat for hours and talked and truly bonded with the drawing of a Cathedral. The drawing symbolized true teamwork and perseverance. The blind man never gave up on the husband even given his poor attitude towards him. As they drew the picture they held hands which is ultimately the basis of the story. If these two men would have never crossed paths the husband would have still carried on in his close minded thinking, and never would have been exposed to the idea of accepting people for who they are and learning their ways. Someone can truly be blind to the emotions of others and issues that affect them everyday, but through exposure and interaction they can gain an awareness and openness to things that are unfamiliar to them.