John Cheever's Use Of Self-Delusion In The Enormous Radio

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John Cheever’s inner conflictions in the midst of his struggles with marriage and finances are mirrored in the actions and words of his characters and the themes which his stories portray. ***No intro paragraph yet*** Like many of his literary characters, John Cheever began his life in the suburbs, in Quincy, Massachusetts along with his parents and brother Frederick. The child of well-to-do parents, Cheever’s father was the owner of a prosperous shoe sale business. However, during the depression with the economy failing, the business was lost and the family fell into the clutches of poverty. With no source of income to provide for the family, John Cheever’s mother opened up a gift shop. Having been economically privileged all of his…show more content…
Like Irene, Cheever utilizes self-delusion as a coping method for the issues around him and his own moral ambiguity. In the midst of conflicts surrounding his marriage, Cheever continuously failed to take responsibility for the rifts he had caused. Even following the evaluation from the psychiatrist, Cheever persisted with the notion that Mary was at fault. He even maintained this position after having an affair with another woman. In the Enormous Radio, Irene’s egotism is ironic as we learn of the many sins she has committed. This is displayed during Jim’s flare-up, when he said “ "Why are you so Christly all of a sudden? What 's turned you overnight into a convent girl? You stole your mother 's jewelry before they probated her will. You never gave your sister a cent of that money that was intended for her - not even when she needed it. You made Grace Howland 's life miserable, and where was all your piety and your virtue when you went to that abortionist?” (Cheever 7) By failing to recognize her own faults, Irene shields herself from the mental burden doing so would cause in the same way that Cheever does throughout his marital…show more content…
Like the “Enormous Radio”, “The Swimmer”, published in 1964, contains themes that reflect Cheever’s personal experiences. A story of suburban emptiness and self-delusion, this piece takes us through the adventures of Neddy Merrill. A man of high social standing, Neddy Merrill has a nice family, lives in an upscale neighborhood and is seemingly unburdened by the struggles of the common man. His daily activities mirror his status, such as attending and rejecting parties, playing tennis and drinking gin. Despite his age, he appears to be the embodiment of youth, strength and happiness. The story begins with Neddy, his wife and friends lounging about a pool and drinking alcohol. When it is time to go home, Neddy decides that instead of walking, he will swim his way there through the string of pools throughout the neighborhood. He names this path the “Lucinda River”, after his wife. Along the way he is welcomed by friends, who greet him and offer him a drink. Afterwards, a storm brings his journey to a halt, and he is forced to wait for its passing. Once it passes Neddy continues onward, but like the leaves which are now yellow and red, his journey is changing. When he arrives at the home of his friends the Welcher’s, he notices that their is a for-sale sign on their lawn and wonders when they had last been in touch. After crossing a highway and cutting through a public pool, he arrives at the home of the Halloran’s. They express their sympathy for his misfortunes,

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