The Enormous Radio By John Cheever

1062 Words5 Pages
At the start of World War II, millions of men and women in United States entered military service and built a phenomenal economic growth. When the war ended and America entered the postwar period, this was also seen as a golden era; however, during this time, there were also a number of problems that started to emerge in the social value and moral code. In the story “The Enormous Radio”, John Cheever not only uses metaphor to explore class aspirations, public social phenomena and private sordid life in the postwar era, but also uses the symbolism of the radio to illustrate the deformed humanity and moral failing. There are some similarities to Cheever’s career in the story “The Enormous Radio”. For example, they both feature tenuous marriages. At the end of the story, the Westcotts’ marriage is about destroyed by the extravagance of the wife, and “excessive drinking took a toll on Cheever’s marriage” (Parini, 254). Moreover, they both lived in both urban cities and suburban counties. Cheever moved to live with his brother in Boston and relocated to New York in 1934, then he moved to Westchester county with his family in 1951. In the story, the Westcotts lived in New York city’s East side and they yearned to live in Westchester. In addition, “For John Cheever, New York City was a place of infinite possibilities, rare beauties, and dangerous promises, but in the end, it was also a place of pervasive sadness, of loss, and a fitting subject for his plaintive, elegant prose songs” (O 'Connell, 243). Cheever uses metaphor to show the class aspirations of contemporary people. In the postwar time, American society became more affluent and most Americans considered themselves as part of the middle class or upper class even if they actuall... ... middle of paper ... ...o” (Bloom,48) to mirror contemporary people not to be became ugly in humanity and moral failing. Cheever applies the techniques of metaphor and symbolism not only to show the class aspiration, public and private life of contemporary people during postwar, but also remind the awareness of the changed in humanity and moral value. Cheever is arguing that although someone is seen like having a decent, wealth public life, they might live in a private sordid life that facing some serious issues. Therefore, do not over pursuit of the external appearance and other views of your appearance, otherwise it will fall in an ugly reality society. American people yearning to have a better life and dreaming to be a middle or upper class people lead to a tremendous economic growth in postwar, and the blind conspicuous consumption make them lose their humanity and moral code gradually.
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