Raymond Carver's "Cathedral" is a passage about change in an unnamed protagonist who is blinded by prejudices and his journey to enlightenment thought the assistance of a blinded man by the name of Robert. Robert reveals to the protagonist, a man of limited awareness, what it truly means to "see" beyond eyesight. Through the utilization of symbolism, and foil characterization between the husband and the blind man, Carver elucidates the meaning of blindness and enlightenment in the passage.
Carver addresses the barriers imposed by the human tendency to rely on vision as the sole means of experiencing the world. He develops a story with symbolism throughout, opening the story with a statement from the narrator, "This blind man, an old friend of my wife's he was on his way to spend the night. His wife had died." (438) Showing his archetypes towards blind people, by having to state he is blind, and not just an "old friend of his wife's". Carver also develops the two main characters to completely mirror one another. In these characters not only does sight and blindness become conflicted with each other, but the issue of knowledge, too. Carver addresses society's misconception of vision and its connection with knowledge, bringing out the idea of sight being the handicap rather than the blindness. .
The narrator in the story represents a person who sees but cannot "see" and Robert as the character who can "see" but lacks the ability to see with his eyes. The character of the narrator can be described as a person who is scared of the unknown and the unfamiliar, the visit from the blind man represents the unknown. The narrator lives in a sheltered world he has created for himself, feeling the "blind man" coming to stay the night is an invasion of his enclosed existence. "A blind man in my house was not something I looked forward to.