Summary and structure

Here, we will present you the summary and structure of “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver…

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Summary

A married couple is expecting the visit of the wife’s friend, a blind man. The wife met the blind man, named Robert, ten years ago, while working for him during a summer. Since then, she has married an Air Force officer, divorced him and remarried t…

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Structure

The short story is structured around a single event in the characters’ life – a visit by the narrator’s wife’s blind friend to the couple's home. The story is structured as a first-person account. It lacks a traditional plot line and has a zero-ending (which does not look like an ending or a resolution).

Title

The title of the short story, “Cathedral”, suggests the story might have a religious theme or that the events take place in a cathedral. However, in Carver’s short story, the cathedral functions as a symbol; it represents the cathartic (liberatory) turning point in the narrator’s life. The narrator is a person who finds he is prejudiced against blind people. When his wife’s blind friend comes to visit, the narrator’s prejudices are gradually dismantled. He eventually comes to understand that people can see without looking, as he draws a cathedral with his eyes closed, at the request of Robert, the blind man. The cathedral becomes a symbol of things whic…

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