The symptoms of alcoholism can be shown through your behavior, mood, and whole body. Alcoholism can affect your behavior by making you have aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, self-destructive behavior, or lack of restraint. Alcoholism also affects one’s mood by making them have anxiety, euphoria, general discontent, guilt, or loneliness. We can see all of these behaviors and moods displayed by the narrator throughout “Cathedral” by Raymond Carver. The narrator struggles with substances, insecurities, and anxiety about his about his relationship with his wife, and his wife’s relationships with the blind man and previous relations with her ex-husband.
In “Cathedral,” Raymond Carver writes about the importance or of human connection, communication, and simple human touch. The narrator internalizes his feelings, thus failing his wife and others around him with his inability to communicate.
The narrator has insecurities and anxiety that is unspoken but prevalent through the story. While the blind man is introduced he compares himself to Robert who is open man who can talk to his wife about his feelings and just about anything.
This scares the narrator because he believes that he could lose his wife or that she could love the blind man more because he is something that the narrator is not. While these thoughts are brewing in his head he looks at the blind man as competition. Men are exceptionally competitive at nature and believe that almost anything is a game. The narrator is feeling that him and the blind man are in a competition for his wife and her love.
narrator is unable to recognize that his wife does share her life with him, but he’s incapable of reciprocating. The wife loves the narrator shows that to him but men have always been told to keep their feelings inside and not to be an emotional man because they are considered weak if they do so.
During a conversation between the narrator and his wife she says, “If you love me, you can do this for me. If you don’t love me, okay. But if you had a friend, any friend, and the friend came to visit, I’d make them feel comfortable”. The way he copes with the brewing thoughts of his wife and the blind man, and his uncomfortableness about the situation is to make jokes about the blind man and put up a metaphoric wall around his feelings and choose to not talk about them. He states mean comments about the blind man such as, “Maybe I could take him bowling.”. He does this make himself feel better but all this is doing is showing his insecurities and that he is scared about the situation at hand.Through these mean comments being said and the narrator just being a rude person it shows that he is scared to talk about the real problem that he is conflicted with.
He would rather have a quick fight about something that is not relevant and not get anywhere than talk about the bigger problem under surface. There are many problems at hand in this story it is not all is just about the blind man and how the narrator is uncomfortable about him and the relationship he has with his wife. There is deeper problems that haven’t been dealt with that are hinted at throughout the story. The narrator mentions the 1st husband that his wife had and how it shaped his wife, prior to them. He says she told Robert, She had a problem moving all the time and what he was doing with producing weaponry for the military force. She and her first husband were constantly moving from one military base to another and this was a problem to her.. According to the narrator, she said this was a big factor in her suicide attempt.
The narrator states, “This went on for years…one night she got to feeling lonely and cut off from all the people she kept losing in that moving-around life. She got to feeling she couldn’t go it another step. She went in and swallowed all the pills and capsules in the medicine chest and washed it down with a bottle of gin.”. This is a serious problem that has happened in her past and her issues are not something to ignore, but they decide to not talk about such issues. They don’t deal with her depressive tendencies and unhappiness as a couple and it festers and makes the problem worse for the both of them. His strained relationship with his wife and his meaningless job has been tacked on to his life and he has turned to substances for happiness and to forget about conflicts.
The narrator’s abuse with substances, that he has turned to for joy and comfort, has seemingly brought him to the point where he can’t find any joy or meaning in the world. In our world, millions of people have done exactly what our narrator has done and turn to alcohol and drugs to help them and hope that these substances will fix the problem. These substances they thought would cure them of their issues has fully ruined their life and are put in a deeper hole then they were already in. Getting hooked to these substances can have side effects to your health and behavior and is very noticeable that these effects are prevalent in our narrator. His behavior is a complete match with the symptoms of alcoholism: aggression, agitation, compulsive behavior, self-destructive behavior, anxiety discontent, guilt, or loneliness.
Alcohol and marijuana have fixed how he feels in the short term but will not fix the deeper conflicts in the end. In “Cathedral,” Raymond Carver writes about the importance or of human connection, communication, and simple human touch. The narrator internalizes his feelings, thus failing his wife and others around him with his inability to communicate. He turns to substances to try to fix how he feels but this ultimately leads him into a deeper hole. In the end the narrator and Robert draw a cathedral together and it opens the narrators eyes on the world and the beauty of it through Robert’s perspectives and this could be the narrator first friend that he has opened up too.