In the story “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver a variety of elements of short fictioncontribute to theme. Raymond Carver uses a great variety of elements to render a themethat all members of society are accepted. The point-of-view in this story puts the narrator as a participant and theprotagonist.
The narrator also has limited omniscience which keeps the reader fromseeing the blind mans feelings. Early on, the narrator is rude and inconsiderate. Heoften makes rude remarks to the blind man such as “what side of the train did you siton?” and comments on color TV. Carver uses the narrators prejudices as a reflection ofthe many prejudices inherent on todays society. The author sympathizes with the wife. Readers can sense the feeling of the wifebeing embarrassed.
She covers up for the narrators mistakes. The authors use of tonemakes the readers dislike the narrator; therefore, the readers desire a change in him. The symbols in the story help to identify theme. The cathedral, the most obvioussymbol, shows unity and common belief. A cathedral is a place where everyone is equaland accepted.
The touching of the face is also a symbol. It shows the trust built betweenthe wife and the blind man. The irony in this story is that it takes a blind man to make a seeing man see. Irony is when reality is not what it appears to be. Readers think that the blind man is at adisadvantage based on the prejudices known by everyone. In reality, the blind man cansee things that seeing people are unable to see.
The theme that all of these elements contribute to is that all people are equal, andthe things you lack do not matter because they are made up for in other ways.