John Cheever's "The Season of Divorce" could be viewed as nothing more than a story of hopeless love, a tale of something that could never be. It is through the author’s use of tone in the story that a theme deeper than simple forbidden desire is conveyed. The situation between Ethyl and her husband, the narrator, reflects one of hidden resentment; a product of imposed societal stresses. Through the use of situational irony, Cheever gives the reader a feeling of instability and hopelessness found in a seemingly secure setting, this being a marriage of rather longstanding. With his descriptions of people and places, the deliberations of the characters and the dialogue in the story, the author's tone lends an atmosphere of despair.
Situational irony is encountered everywhere in the description. It the way in which Cheever gives the descrptions themselves that an feeling of entrapment and despondency emerges. Dr. Trencher and his wife are a prime example. While the doctor is described as blue-eyed and young, his wif...
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