In Raymond Carver’s short stories How does one reach enlightenment

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how one reaches enlightenment in Raymond Carver’s short stories. Thesis of the paper can be put as enlightenment is reached through spiritual transformation of an individual who becomes capable of valuing his/her own self, others, and relationship with others. Writer’s short story Cathedral, which was published in 1983, analyses the issue of human ignorance. Cathedral belongs to literary subgenre called psychological realism. Carver’s literary device is narrator’s passing from the state of insecurity to complete openness. The main character is sure about what he does and what he needs to do. However, as the story unfolds the narrator gets enlightened with the help of a blind person. Such order of events has rather symbolic meaning. Ironically, the thesis of the paper can be sated as, in Carter’s Cathedral enlightenment is reached through blindness. This short story can be described as a journey into one’s inner self or one’s enlightenment. …
Narrator’s wife and the blind man were exchanging tape recordings which they both were fond of (Carver 100). The narrator is actually the main character of the story. He is rather narrow-minded personality lacking self-confidence. He cannot communicate well with other people and feels himself as outsider. Only after meeting with the blind man, the narrator begins his inside transformation. In the process of communication with Robert the narrator discovers that there is another side of human relationships and communications. He begins to understand that openness makes both relationship and communication easier and much more valuable. The blind man place role of discoverer and his task is to discover the narrator’s hidden positive traits of character. Unlike the narrator, Robert seems to have very good relationship with narrator’s wife. Moreover, he seems to understand the woman better than her own husband. It might be because of woman’s former psychological trauma when she attempted suicide (Schuman 259). One of the turning points of the story is the narrator and the blind man’s drawing of the cathedral. After watching some historical program about the Middle Ages, Robert expresses an unusual idea to draw a cathedra together. Moreover, the narrator had to lead the drawing to make Robert better present and understand the notion of cathedral. Schuman stresses that the catharsis of the events in the story is the narrator’s spiritual transformation (Schuman 263). The reader also feels a kind of invitation to open up spiritually and to better comprehend oneself. In fact, the narrator feels some new sensation, intimacy,