From the get-go Cheever emphasises the classic description of masculinity in Charlie’s father, foreshadowing his attitude and actions later on in the story. Charlie immediately notices his scent, “It was a rich compound of whiskey, after-shave lotion, shoe polish, woolens, and the rankness of the mature male”. The physical description of his odor is almost over-the-top with symbols of an upper-class, manly man who cares about his appearance and status. Clearly Cheever chose to describe the father like this to demonstrate that he is a man of wealth, authority, and class. Once arriving at the first restaurant, the father immediately orders beer for his underage son, “We would like a couple of Beefeater Gibsons”. In fact, the only thing he orders for them throughout the story is alcohol. He does not ask his son what he wants at any point. Beer is another symbol of masculinity. Having your first beer with your father could be a sort of coming-of-age experience, it seems like that is what the father is trying to achieve. Shortly after, “Our drinks came, and he cross-questioned me about the baseball season”. Charlie’s father is making some effort at this point to have a connection with the son he has not seen in three years. But, this is the only indication of a conversation about Charlie 's ...
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... not make the simple gestures that would have meant the most to Charlie. Sitting with him in a diner, chatting, and catching up on the years past. Maybe father is trying to impress Charlie, or maybe he just is not good at being a father, but in the end, Charlie gets back on the train even more alone than he was before.
In the short story “Reunion” by John Cheever Charlie’s father represents a distant and overbearingly manly character who treats waiters with extreme disrespect, resulting in a further straining his already non-existent relationship with his son. Charlie’s father does not have his priorities straight and it is no surprise that his mother divorced him three years ago. It is sad that men like him can abuse their status in society and neglect their children, but as a result of the father’s actions, he has welcomed the loneliness that life will give him.
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