Fear of the Unknown

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Fearof the Unknown

Thedaily activities that people perform expose them to differentexperiences that shape their thinking and attitude. Most of thepeople are afraid of objects or places that have not been explored byothers. They are skeptical when approaching such items and niches.Scientists and psychologists have tried to explain the source of thefear that individuals exude when venturing into unknown places. Theimplication of the perturbation leads to under exploitation ofresources, failure to reach out to others and affects people’sappreciation of other practices. The fear of the unknown causespeople to see things according to their perception.

First,people feel insecure when venturing into unknown places or whenmeeting new people. The rationale for this is that they did not knowhow to react to the different environments. Therefore, they wouldrather remain with their pre-formed notions about individuals orexperiences rather than venture and obtain the reality. In his story,TheCathedral,Carver demonstrates this by depicting the narrator as having baselessnotions about blind people. He fears that they are nagging and cannotwalk without canes (Carver 3). He also thinks that they all wearblack glasses to hide their eyes. However, his wife understands theblind people since she worked closely with Robert. When Robertdeclares his intention of visiting the couple, the narrator isworried of how the blind man would behave or how they would interact(Carver 4). The fear makes him uneasy, and he does not think it isone of the best ideas that his wife ever made. Surprisingly, he notesthat Robert has a full-grown beard, does not carry a cane and doesnot put on black glasses (Carver 6). His idea of a blind man close tohim changes. He also notes that they could break into a conversationeasily. Although meeting the blind man was not a voluntary action,the narrator’s fear of the unknown disintegrates as the two passthe night.

Inaddition to Carver depiction of the fear of the unknown, LindaBrewer, in her story, 20/20,demonstrates that uncertainties lead people to make prompt decisionto avoid plunging into an alien experience. Bill observes that Ruthieis not afraid of driving towards the sunset. He also doubts her senseof sight since she gets claims to see various animals along the road.Bill is not sure where such animals live in that part of the country.When she wakes Bill to have a view of a tree stump that appears likea monster, Bill recommends that they change positions so that hecould drive. He is not sure whether the rural girl from Ohio coulddrive towards the right direction (Brewer).

Secondly,people form their opinions and perceptions out fear and fantasies. Itis noteworthy that one cannot make out an experience from a situationthat he/she has never been acquainted with. For example, a sightedindividual cannot comprehend what a blind man perceives variousthings. In his story, Carver notes that the narrator does notcomprehend how a blind man could get married to a woman whom he didnot have an idea of how she looked. He fears that it can be extremelydifficult for one to live without reading the non-verbal cues of hispartner (Carver 8). He also presumes that it could be hilarious ifone would live without appreciating the beauty of his spouse.However, he is humbled by learning that Robert was married for eightyears and that his wife died while the two held hands. However, itwould be wrong to castigate people’s attitude towards situationsthat they have no idea about. Although their thoughts could beprejudiced, it is noteworthy that they can only rely on their formedfantasies to explain the unknown.

Whatpeople see or believe to be present in a setting is also influencedby what they have previously heard or the exact contrast of what theyhave experienced. For example, someone who comes from a first worldcountry but has never set foot in a disenfranchised country may holdan idea that the environment in the dilapidated state is the actualjuxtaposition of the progressive environment. Such thoughts triggerthe cropping of fear. The narrator in Carvers story does not have aconcrete idea of how to explain the appearances of a cathedral to theblind man. Little does he know that Robert has an idea. Robert guideshim in drawing the cathedral, and this amazes him. He had feared thatthe blind man was an antithesis of a sighted individual (Carver 11).However, Robert was informed, and he could even distinguish a coloredTV from a black and white set. A similar observation is evident inBrewer’s story whereby Ruthie presumes a tree stump to be a simianape (Brewer). Probably, she had heard stories about Bigfoots, but shedid not have an idea of their actual appearance. Bill is fear hersightings and he decides to drive in case Ruthie was hallucinating.

Inconclusion, the fear of the unknown leads people to see thingsaccording to their perception. The two stories by Carver and Brewerdemonstrate that people have varied opinions towards a situation thatthey have never experienced. This form of blindness can lead peopleto compose fantasies. However, the prejudices and fear can beovercome by courting the unknown experiences. This is demonstrated bythe narrator in Carver’s story who changes his view of blindpeople. However, most people would rather remain with their spinelessperceptions and idea than venture into an unknown experience.


Carver,Raymond, and David Baldwin. Cathedral.Harvill Press, 1999. Print.

Brewer,Linda. 20/20. Web.

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