Rymond Carver tells us an episode from an ordinary man’s life. The writer reveals the main character’s thoughts and his attitude towards Robert, his wife’s friend who comes to their house. The latter has one distinctive feature – blindness. Nevertheless, this disorder doesn’t influence his ability to actually see things. The protagonist, whose eyes are completely healthy, looks at objects and people, but fails to make an effort to understand them. The main theme of the short story lies in the importance of being able to see with your heart, as the blind man does.
From the very beginning of the narration, the main hero feels superior to Robert and is convinced the blind do not live a normal life. Meanwhile, his own life is dramatically changing. He sets off on a journey during which he both overcomes his prejudices and learns to look at the world and understand it.
One repeated image in the story is audiotapes. Robert and the narrator's wife communicate without seeing each other using audiotapes, but the level of intimacy and understanding between them is higher than between the woman and her husband.
A cathedral is the central image and a main symbol of the work. We all know it's a place where people come to take care of their souls, so it's no wonder the process of drawing a cathedral allows the protagonist an insight into his inner world. With his eyes closed, he realizes that the building is full of sense he was previously oblivious to. At this moment, he experiences a feeling of pleasure he had never had before. He becomes different from what he used to be at the first page of the work.
Cathedral doesn’t contain any unpredictable events or gripping scenes; a reader is relaxed throughout the story and has enough time to answer the questions that it evokes: what lies behind the formal surface? Are people and things that surround us the same as they seem to be at first glance? Maybe, we all need finally to open our eyes? The story is a good food for thought.