Study Guide

Cathedral Transformation

By Raymond Carver


"I don't have any blind friends," I said.

"You don't have any friends, she said. "Period." (1.9)

Little did either of them know that the narrator would in fact have a friend by the end of the evening, or at least the possible beginning of a friendship. Even though we're only talking one friend, a transformation from friendless to friendship is big.

"I want you to feel comfortable in this house," she said. (1.55)

As the story progresses all the characters become increasingly more comfortable with each other. The narrator indeed takes seriously his wife's insistence that Robert be made comfortable. The rest falls into place.

"But maybe you could describe one to me? I wish you'd it. I'd like that. I really don't have a good idea." (2.9)

The narrator genuinely wants to make sure Robert understands everything that's going on. When Robert sees this and responds honestly, it opens the door for the shared transformation we see at the end of the story.

Then I said, "I'm glad for the company." (2.28)

This is actually two transformations for the price of one. At the beginning of Part 2, the narrator wishes his wife would come back downstairs because he doesn't "want to be left alone with a blind man" (2.1). Now, the narrator is glad for the company. We also learn that he usually spends this portion of the evening all by himself. Wanting to hang out with Robert, and not being alone are both important transformations.

He found my hand, the hand with the pen. He closed his hand over my hand. (3.30)

We like this moment because it shows how far Robert and the narrator have come. They've moved from alienation and mistrust toward physical contact and a shared creative project that meets both of their needs at the same time.