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Cathedral, a short story by Raymond Carver is quite a moving story of how ignorance can mislead one into misjudgments and many times lead to the misconception of others despite the little-misinformed knowledge we have about them. The story is of great interest as it gives an opportunity to know the ability of persons with disability and sometimes the misconception people have against them. Carver utilizes his characters well as he brings out the key themes of the story by evenly using them. The first narration that he uses gives one a first-hand perspective of how misinformed people can about others inabilities. The narrator in the story is highly misinformed about the blindness that Robert has. He is so blinded by the hatred that he has for Robert for being close to his wife that he does not even look for a reason to why his wife is is close to him, having met and worked with Robert as a reader for the blind ten years ago, the narrator's wife is still in close conduct with him. They constantly communicate, and she seems to be more close to Robert than to the narrator who is her husband. The closeness of Robert and the narrator's wife is what makes the narrator hate Robert. He does not understand how they can be so close despite the wife having worked with Robert for a long while back and being replaced by another reader for the blind who he went on to marry (2-11).
According to Carver story is quite a significance as it gives us an opportunity to learn that the disabled have their unique abilities that can leave even the able mesmerized at them. The narrator is apparently surprised at how Robert can keep a tight relationship with his wife and those who come in his life. Robert is good at keeping close conducts with those he meets in his life. The narrator's wife who was the first to be in conduct with Robert still has a strong bond with him as they communicate regularly to which the narrator is openly not happy. The replacement of the narrator's wife at her job as a reader for the blind becomes so close to Robert in that they marry. Unfortunately, she has passed on as per the current narration. Robert also comes out as an extremely intelligent guy who has appreciated his disability and despite the stereotype that the narrator openly displays when he goes to his place after the death of his wife at the invitation of the narrator's wife, he intelligently answers the narrator despite recognizing that the narrator was acting in bad faith. His ability to challenge the narrator to be in a blinds situation is quite superb as he makes him draw a cathedral with his eyes closed and even appreciating that whatever he had drawn is quite right despite having seen the image (1-14).
The ability of the author to weave the story using unique styles that include the first person narration and use of suspense makes the story fascinating, explorative, mind opening and a good read. Furthermore, the usage of various styles including symbolism brings a deep understanding of the abilities human posses and the inefficiency of poor self-efficacy that leads to wrong self-evaluation.
The research question
What are the issues affecting the physically challenged especially the blind in the society they live in?
Although the blind can pass as people who always require the help of the ordinary individuals to facilitate them as they carry out their daily activities; they can be individual of great importance as they have other abilities that those considered general lack hence there is a need to respect and appreciate their abilities. The blind people require help in doing basic things including walking around and reading as some of these activities they cannot undertake due to the limitation they have as a result of their physical inability. According to Bruce and Zayyad though the blinds lack the sense of sight, the other senses are strongly developed to compensate for their inefficiency. They have other strong senses that might be better than the other normal people hence there is no need to form a negative opinion about them. Furthermore most have adapted to their situations their situations through the use of guides in activities they cannot carry out for themselves (228).
Respecting the blind and other physically challenged
The blind and the other physically challenged need to be seen as human beings first before defining them as per their disabilities. Looking at them as humans will not only ensure that respect is accorded to them as required but unnecessary stereotypes formed against them eliminated. The recognition of their abilities and talent will ensure that the views they hold do not only bring respect but a lasting relationship with others who are considered normal.
Carver in his short story brings out the fact that although Robert was disabled, he had his abilities and was good at making friends whereby he established strong bonds with those he got in touch with. Robert had established a strong bond with the wife of the narrator despite having worked for him ten years back. The lady who replaced the narrator's wife is who had died becomes Roberts wife as a result of the strong bond that they establish between themselves. Robert is skilled I ensuring that he maintains the bond between his friends as he is in constant communication with the narrators wife. The narrator's wife uses the strong bond between her and Robert to inform her about any development in her marriage. She is always happy whenever communicating with Robert and as the narrator claims she is always and looking forward to the audios that Robert sends her despite the narrator.
Disability is not inability
As Robert proves in the short story, notwithstanding his inability to see he yearns to learn new things and socialize with new people. Despite having not had met the narrator before, in their first meeting after being invited by his wife after the burial of Roberts wife, Robert is quick to notice the dislike the narrator has for him (Carver, 7-9).
The hatred the narrator has for Robert is evident, and its origin can be traced to the strong relationship and the closeness he has with the narrators wife. The narrator had formed a negative opinion about Robert despite them never having met. The narrator took him to be some kind of a weakling on account of him not being to see. When he is told that Roberts wife has passed on, the narrator is ironically sympathetic that Robert has lost his wife without having known (seen) her. The narrator tries to gauge Roberts intelligence by asking him the side of the train he sat on while traveling to their home, which Robert does not hesitate to tell him. The narrator goes ahead to challenge him if knew what a cathedral was after the TV narrator talked about cathedrals. Robert smartly takes the challenge back to the narrator and challenges him to make a drawing of a cathedral while they hold hands. He goes on to tell the narrator to make the cathedral drawing when his eyes are closed. He asks the narrator to evaluate what he had drawn but out of fear without evaluating says that he had done a good stuff, though. Though the challenge is meant to enlighten the narrator, it does so only for sometimes as he feels carried away but when he realizes that he is still in his house, he goes ahead and regains his initial pride by refusing to abide by what Robert tells him (Carver, 3-14).
Support for the blind
The blind and other physically challenged individuals need to be supported to lead a normal life. Pascolini, and Silvio asserts that the blind need to be supported with visual enhancing gears especially where one is partially blind (32). Furthermore, the blind and other physically challenged should be taken to the special school where they learn and develop alternative skills that they can integrate into their lives. The need for alternative support is quite evident as the visually disabled have to be assisted by other people. The narrators wife once was a reader to Robert and her job was taken by Beulah, who later became Roberts wife.
The support for the blind should also be emotional in such a way that they should not be discriminated against in any form as a result of their disability. The social acceptance of people with disabilities including the blind is key in ensuring that they also appreciate themselves hence having the self-esteem to tackle the challenges of life as another human being (Pascolini, and Silvio 23-45). Robert after getting married to Beulah who accepts his disability helps him to accept his status and participate actively in economic development. Before Beulahs death, the couple had established an Amway distribution. With adequate support and acceptance from the disabled; they can actively participate in the development affairs even surpassing the able. Robert has been active economically as he is a professional ham radio operator. Furthermore, Robert has social conducts that he shares life challenges with. The narrator's wife is a confidant to Robert and freely shares her life challenges with him. Furthermore, they constantly communicate with each other which has made her come to Roberts rescue after the death of his wife. The narrator's wife closeness to Robert is demonstrated when she demands that the narrator allows Robert to come put up with them after his wifes death (Carver 7-11).
The narrator is optimistic that Roberts wife was quite devastated as she knew that Robert does not know her. Due to his inability to see contrary to the wife according to the narrator would have made her die a sad woman that he insinuates that she was led a miserable life as a wife to Robert. This is contrary to the situation as the two led a successful Amway distribution business together which would have been impossible had they been not on good terms.
Furthermore, the blind and other disabled have to be considered as other human beings hence be treated as such. Bruce and Zayyad postulates that the disabled not only need to be treated out of compassion but also as human beings who have emotion she as and feeling. Showing disrespect or discriminating against the does not only expose them to psychological torture that will make them not be open to others as a result of low self-esteem. Any person who tries to hinder the disabled from enjoying their rights should be castigated and prosecuted as per the law. The need to discourage people who are fond of making fun of the disabled should be discouraged at every opportunity (232- 243). According to Carver Roberts blindness is not taken positively by the narrator in Cathedral. The narrator does not like the close relationship his wife has with a blind despite having worked with him for a long time. The narrator is more bitter at his wife openly giving his lives progress to the blind including the challenges she undergoes through life. The narrator is also amazed when he finally meets Robert, who he realizes, is not ignorant as he initially thought. The fact that Robert is economic independent and was running an Amway distribution together with his wife before her demise at the same time being a professional ham radio operator, this is contrary to his expectation of him being a dependent who is depends on the able persons economically (3-12).
How to overcome issues affecting the blind and other physically challenged persons.
The need to understand the disabled especially the blind is informed by the importance they need to be integrated into normal life. Snyder asserts that no one needs to be discriminated and avoided if the society needs to move ahead wholesomely. Every member of the society despite their ability or disability status need to be brought as they possess different abilities that are unique and their participation the development of the society will ensure that everyone benefits from the...
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