Cathedral

A strange story, which seems to have no clear goal, is what Raymond Carver’s short story “Cathedral” turned out to be. The story spoke of a married couple who invited a blind friend to come stay in their home due to some unfortunate circumstances (besides the fact that he’s blind). The story expressed Tuan’s concept of special ability and knowledge as the blind man didn’t act like the common blind man normally does.
First thing to note was that Robert, the blind man walked around without a cane to support his spatial knowledge. Most blind people feel around with a walking stick of sorts to gain a better understanding of their surroundings. Robert on the other hand seemed to do fine without it. It must have been his high level of spatial ability. With only a few descriptive words he seemed to know where everything in a room was. Robert also seemed to use his fingers to assist him as we saw that during dinner, he picked and cut his food as if he knew where it all was. Apparently he did know where it was and he seemed to handle a fork and knife with as much skill as any person would. It would make sense because eating is something you do every day, I’m sure over time his spatial knowledge at the dinner table increased and his ability to eat just become a habit. If you really think about it, when you eat, you don’t always look at your food anyway. I’m sure it’s just habitual for us after some time.
In the end, spatial ability and knowledge doesn’t seem to be a factor limited by sight only. It can involve feeling and practice as well. It’s easy to notice this every day when you do many simple things out of habit without thinking about it or looking. You don’t look at your legs as you walk around your house and you don’t need to look at the door knob every time you close the door to your room.

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One Response to Cathedral

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