We’ve just come off talking about Raymond Carver’s story “Cathedral” in intro to lit. The discussion came down to the eye and the question of sight so important to Wyatt, Moore and Gibbins, Shakespeare, and Bacon.
“‘Take a look. What do you think?'” Robert asks Bub, the protagonist of “Cathedral,” after they’ve drawn a cathedral on paper.
“But I had my eyes closed,” Bub responds. “I thought I’d keep them that way for a little longer. I thought it was something I ought to do. . . . I was in my house. I knew that. But I didn’t feel like I was inside anything.”
Here’s where Bub resolves his problem. The story ends with “insight.” In the story Bub’s blind to lots of things and in the end he looks inside. As Bacon would claim, there are problems with a reliance on the sense of sight as a means to draw conclusions. Case in point is Lear who point blank asks Goneril and Regan in King Lear to confiscate his eyes, a metaphor for judgement. He is blind to their trickery.
Likewise, Satan appeals to Eve’s sense of sight as she “eyeballs” the fruit of the forbidden tree. Watchmen tests our judgement in the graphic tale by building multisequential narrative lines into single panels.
Sight is a complex metaphor. It’s drilled into the language that we use.
Here’s a question: do we “see” music?