Many authors use the personification of inanimate objects to symbolize the feelings and expressions of their characters. One example of this is in John Cheever’s short story, "The Enormous Radio." Although critics argue that the characteristics of the radio are the opposite of those of Jim and Irene Westcott, the radio actually reflects the couple’s life.
Even though in the beginning of the story the Westcotts’ old radio is outdated and constantly malfunctioning, it has the same innocence and simplicity as the couple. The radio, being "an old instrument" (817), and the couple, resembling "statistical reports in college alumni bulletins" (817), are both average and uncomplicated. Neither Jim nor Irene "understood the mechanics of the radio" (817), just as the radio, a machine, did not understand the human music and language it transmitted. Eventually the couple’s life begins to fall apart. This happens as the old radio get worse and finally "the music [from the radio] faded away all together" (817).
When the ...
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Enormous Lie Exposed in The Enormous Radio John Cheever’s "The Enormous Radio" begins with the Westcotts appearing like the perfect "all-American" family. Cheever describes them as "the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability" (Cheever 817). What is ironic about this story is the Westcotts are far from being the "perfect family," and the community they try to conform to is just as flawed as the Westcotts themselves. A way the Westcotts try to conform to their society is by keeping secret the fact that they listen to the radio and attend musical events.... [tags: Enormous Radio]
484 words (1.4 pages)
- Imagine living a completely normal life which suddenly deteriorates into depression, cynicism, and obsession. At the beginning of the story, “The Enormous Radio”, Irene Westcott's life is as simple as can be. She has average income, aspirations, and overall, a very typical life. Despite this, the arrival of a mysterious radio turns her life upside down and ultimately drives her into obsession and doubt about her friends, life and family. In the end, the intrusive radio negatively impacts her interpersonal relationships, encourages her to judge others and most significantly, completely destroys her emotionally.... [tags: The Enormous Radio, John Cheever]
1074 words (3.1 pages)
- The Difficult Lesson of The Enormous Radio "The Enormous Radio" by John Cheever begins with Jim and Irene Westcott who are an average American couple with an average American family. Cheever describes them as middle-aged, having two young children, a pleasant home, and a sufficient income. On the surface they seem to have a perfect life, but underneath this is not the case. In the course of the story, Irene’s imperfections are revealed by a hideous radio. The radio was bought to give the Westcott’s listening pleasure, but then they discover it can hear all the neighbors’ conversations.... [tags: Enormous Radio]
969 words (2.8 pages)
- Exposing Pain in The Enormous Radio In John Cheever’s short story, "The Enormous Radio," Jim and Irene Westcott are presented as average, middle-class Americans with hopes and dreams just like everyone else. They are described as "the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability" (Cheever 817). Jim and Irene thought they were the epitome of the perfect American family that was free from trouble and worry. The only way that they differed from their friends and neighbors was a deep passion for serious music.... [tags: Enormous Radio Essays]
818 words (2.3 pages)
- Hidden Truths in The Enormous Radio John Cheever’s "The Enormous Radio" represents the enormous amount of hidden truths in American society of the 1940s. The problems with society during this time were hidden behind a facade of goodness; however, this false innocence becomes visible through the radio owned by the Westcotts. The radio causes the Westcotts to evolve from an innocent, naive pair who believe that everything they see is real, into individuals who realize that appearances are deceiving.... [tags: Enormous Radio Essays]
860 words (2.5 pages)
- John Cheever's "The Enormous Radio" In the short story by John Cheever called "The Enormous Radio" it begins with Jim and Irene Westcotts appearing like the perfect American family. Cheever describes them as "the kind of people who seem to strike that satisfactory average of income, endeavor, and respectability" (Cheever 1). What is ironic about this story is the Westcotts are far from being the perfect family and the community they try to conform to is just as imperfect as the Westcotts themselves.... [tags: John Cheever Enormous Radio]
639 words (1.8 pages)
- Hypocrisy in The Enormous Radio In the short story, "The Enormous Radio," by John Cheever, the radio acts as a wake up call for Jim and Irene Westcott. Even though they believe that their life is better than their neighbors’ lives, the radio proves them wrong. The Westcott’s life can be compared to a freshly painted ten-year-old car: nice and shiny on the outside but falling apart on the inside. In the beginning, Jim and Irene seem to have a good life with no problems; they seem to be average, ordinary people.... [tags: Enormous Radio Essays]
629 words (1.8 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.... [tags: Middle class, Working class, Upper class]
1062 words (3 pages)
- Enormous Influences How does life circumstances and experiences influence and affect what a great writer publishes. This is very important question one should ask themselves before delving into any reading. John Cheever, a renowned short story writer, novelist, and story teller, is not exempt of this rule. One of his most famous works called “The Enormous Radio”, is a great work to judge how strongly Cheever’s influenced his work. In this story, the exceptionally normal Westcott family buys an expensive radio.... [tags: Short story, John Cheever, Alcoholism]
1314 words (3.8 pages)
- Required Question: The symbolic interactionist approach is, quite literally, how we interpret the world around us, given the symbols which construct society; essentially, it is how we interpret the meanings of the goings-on around us in the everyday world. We interpret these meanings based off of learned meanings, which are derived from a societal interpretation that is reproduced both consciously and unconsciously through the members of a society every day. The symbolic interactionist approach exists from a social constructionist standpoint in the assumptions that something is real in its consequences to us; in essence, it is our social reality.... [tags: Sociology, Symbolic interactionism, Psychology]
1063 words (3 pages)
- Pettiness of the Wealthy Exposed in The Stolen Party
- A Feminist Perspective of John Updike's A&P
- Free Essays - Southern Black Vernacular in Their Eyes Were Watching God
- Maturity and Self-Identity in Munro’s Boys and Girls by Alice Munro
- A Happier Tomorrow in Today Will Be a Quiet Day
- To Hell With Dying as an Autobiography