Cathedral by Raymond Carver Summary for Students
Cathedral Short Story Summary
There are a lot of things in the world that people think they know, but if you ask them about it, then they won’t everyone will be able to tell what it is, all the more to describe it so that a person who has not seen it could imagine what it is about. Carver's short story Cathedral focuses on this idea, depicting it through the unhappy life of the main characters.
The story develops around one family, whose regular life became the background for the deep psychologism. The wife of the protagonist of this work had an old acquaintance - Robert. Robert was a blind widower, who had a short romance with a woman who worked for him - she read the correspondence.
Then, when she quit, they began to "correspond" with the help of audio recordings (speaking messages to each other on tape and sending them by mail). They have not seen each other for a very long time and now such an opportunity has just been presented. Her husband was not very happy about this, he took it very strangely because Robert was blind. He never met the blind, saw them only in the movies and was very worried about this, not knowing how to behave with them. But then the appointed day came and his wife went to meet Robert at the station and brought him home. The husband sat at home, waited and was very worried. They arrived, went into the house, met. My husband wanted to ask him a question about the train ride, about the views from the window, but caught himself in time, remembering that Robert was blind and said nothing. He looked at Robert with an appraising glance, examining him very closely. Then they sat down on the sofa, drank a little and began to have supper. The husband was very surprised how Robert easily "got used to" and knew perfectly well what was on the plate, and how confidently he wielded a knife and a fork.
After dinner, the wife and Robert talked for a very long time, recalling the significant events that had occurred during this time. Her husband only occasionally tried to insert insignificant phrases to which they seemed to be paying no attention. Then Robert began to ask her husband questions, to which he answered, and then there was a pause, after which the husband decided to turn on the TV. His wife looked at him angrily and asked Robert if he had a TV at home, it turned out that he did, and he was always on. She left the room, so Robert and her husband appeared to be alone in the room. When she returned, all three exchanged insignificant phrases. She informed Robert that his bed was prepared, falling asleep shortly after so that Robert was again left with her husband . The man was asking if Robert was tired and needed help with getting to his bed; however, Robert wanted to stay with the man a bit longer. They began to "watch" TV further. At some point, the husband switched the channel, but then returned it back and apologized, while Robert said that he didn't care and that he was trying to extract useful information from everything. Then they started showing cathedrals on TV, first one, then another ... My husband felt that he needed to say something and said that now they are showing how one of the cathedrals looks from the outside. And suddenly it dawned on him if Robert knew, in general, what the cathedral looked like, he asked him, he replied that he knew nothing about them, except for what he had just heard on TV and asked her husband to describe the cathedral, because he really wanted find it out. The husband became general phrases, very confusedly, to describe the cathedral and, realizing that he was not good at it, began to apologize to Robert. And he offered to bring him paper, a pen and a couple of thick album sheets. When he brought them, Robert felt her husband's hand, in which he was holding a pen, and told him to draw, and he would follow, so it would be easier for him to understand what a cathedral is. The husband began to paint, and Robert encouraged him, saying that he was doing great. At one point, Robert said: “Now let's try something extraordinary. Close your eyes and keep painting. " The sensations were simply incredible, my husband had never experienced anything like this before. Suddenly, Robert said: "Probably enough, look what happened there?" And the husband was sitting with his eyes closed and could not open them. He had the feeling that he was floating somewhere in an open space. “Well,” Robert asked. Did you see what happened there? - Something extraordinary - said the husband without opening his eyes.
This was just a short retelling of this work. Naturally, with many details being omitted. Therefore, it is always better to read the whole story to check the whole meaning.
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