John Cheever's Story 'Reunion': An Analysis

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John Cheever Reunion To you, your father should be as a god; One that compos'd your beauties, yea, and one To whom you are but as a form in wax By him imprinted, and within his power To leave the figure or disfigure it. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1.1.50-4) John Cheever's short story "Reunion" examines the issue of inheritance between a father and his son. Not inheritance as in monetary matters, but as in character traits and personality. That is, Cheever asks the reader, to what extent is a son destined to be like his father? Understanding this fundamental aspect of the story allows one to pinpoint the exact moment in which the protagonist is defined. It is the purpose of this paper to demonstrate how the protagonist is not defined by his own action or inaction, but by the behavior of his progenitor, i.e. his father. The protagonist of the story, the son (Charlie), is defined in the first paragraph of this story, in the following sentences, "He was a stranger to me my mother divorced him three years ago and I hadn't been with him since but as soon as I saw him I felt that he was my father, my flesh and blood, my future and my doom. I knew that when I was grown I would be something like him; I would have to plan my campaigns within his limitations." To unpack these sentences and their import in relation to the remainder of the story, the son openly admits that he is destined to be like his father. In fact, he believes that his own life, his own ambitions, will need to be

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