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John William Cheever
Transcript of John William Cheever
a Realization of Faults (Silence to Reflect)
-- See The Swimmer House on Hill Street
(Large, Glass Windows
Signals Transparencies in the Crutchmans) Gardening (Unearthing the Truth) Larry Crutchman Helen Crutchman Rachel and Tom Happiness Is Conserved (High Points May be Supplemented for Others) Love "The Worm in the Apple"
Parallels the Cliche "Some Things
Are Too Good to be True"
(Although, This Worm Never Surfaces)
(Furniture - Page 487) Hatred Among The Narrator and His Brother, Richard Norton Significance of "Dreams"
(Childhood/Past --Relates to Ned's Nostalgia) "Love" Between
Richard and the Lowboy Possessions Accident (Ignorance of Youth) Fascination of Lowboy
Fascination of Pain Presence of Dead Members of the Family
and Their Respective Stories Signals a
Foreboding Warning Against Holding
Possessions Over Family Narrator's "Realization"
and Disposal of Collected Items
from Dead Mother The Westerhazys The Grahams The Hammers The Lears The Howlands The Crosscups The Bunkers The Levys The Welchers The Hallorans The Sachses The Biswangers Shirley Adams The Gilmartins The Clydes Presence of Drinking/Alcoholism Hostility/Lack of Hospitality Concluding the Story Disillusion (Realism versus Surrealism) Dark, Empty House Plot Summaries: An Overview "The Enormous Radio" Jim and Irene Westcott-"People who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability"
Interest in music
Order modern, physically ugly, gumwood cabinet radio equipped with a number of dials and switches
Radio itself picks up static interference sensitive to electrical currents of all sorts
Irene gradually begins hearing discernible voices over the radio transmittance while Jim is at work
Overhears demonstrations of "indigestion, carnal love, abysmal vanity, faith, and despair"
Becomes concerned and overly obsessed with other's troubles
The "perfect" relationship is turned upside-down; quarrelling ensues
Themes of hypocrisy are realized, while the ending of the fiction implies the "moving on" of the rest of the world
"The Worm in the Apple" Larry, Helen, Rachel, and Tom Crutchman
"Very, very happy and so temperate in all their habits and so pleased with everything that came their way"
This evidence signified common speculation that "one was bound to suspect a worm in their rosy apple"
Wealthy due to Helen's inheritance (only daughter of Charlie Simpson-one of the last of the industrial buccaneers)
Although minor disagreements arise in terms of Rachel's marital choices and Tom's life choices, the worm in the apple is never discovered
Theme: Aspects in life that seem too good to be true may, in fact, be inherently good
"The Lowboy" Richard Norton and the narrator are fueding brothers
Mother's death sparks controversy over household items
Lowboy (bowlegged piece of furniture with heavy brasses and a highly polished veneer the color of cordovan) initially requested by the narrator
Richard's stubbornness in his request for the lowboy initiates the narrator's passivity to acquiesce
Mr. Norton develops an undying love for the piece of furniture, recreating past family events in which deceased relatives return with stories
Richard falls prey to the demands of his possessions, while the narrator realizes his errors and rids himself and his family of all related keepsakes
"The Swimmer" Neddy Merrill
Embarks on journey to swim cross-county
Unable to discern reality from the surreal
Becomes very confused and exhausted as time proceeds
Hosts become more and more hostile
Turns to alcohol (possible similarity to John William Cheever biography)
Returns to a dark, empty home, and remains unable to act Biographical Insight John William Cheever
Born 21 May 1912
Parents Frederick Lincoln and Mary Liley Cheever
Became an independent at a young age
Educated, and later expelled, at Thayer Academy (South Braintree, Massachusetts)
Formed lasting relationship with critic/editor Malcolm Cowley
Moved to New York City in the 1930s
"The Way Some People Live" (1943)
"The Enormous Radio and Other Stories" (1953)
1954: The Benjamin Franklin Short Story Award for "The Five-Forty Eight"
1956: O. Henry Award for "The Country Husband"
"The Housebreaker of Shady Hill" (1958)
"The Swimmer" (1964)
"Bullet Park" (1969)
"The Falconer" (1977)
"The Stories of John Cheever" (1978): Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award
Died of cancer on 18 June 1982 in Ossining, New York
"I'm very much interested in where I'm going, not at all in where I've been"