Reunion - Fame or Family?

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Essay and e-mail - Reunion
A. An essay analyzing the short story
This essay is going to be an analysis and interpretation of the short story ‘’Reunion’’ by John Cheever. It will begin with a summary of the short story. Afterwards the plot, the conflict and the setting will be analyzed. Then I’ll move on to the characterization, the possible surprise ending and the theme and message. Finally I will draw parallels between the short story ‘’Reunion’’ and the essay ‘’Living With Strangers’’ by Siri Hustvedt.

‘’Reunion’’ is a short story about a boy called Charlie and his last interaction with his father. Charlie was travelling by train from his grandmother’s to a cottage his mother had rented. He would be in New York for about an hour and
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The fact that he smells partly of whiskey suggests that he had been drinking. His behavior could also verify that, as he behaved like an unstable person. He could also just be very, very arrogant as he almost feels that he is more than for example the waiters. He talks down to people and is generally very unpleasant. Neither his name or age is mentioned, but he might be in the mid-forties.
The characters are directly told about by the narrator for example in this part of the text ‘’I smelled my father the way my mother sniffs a rose. It was a rich compound of whiskey and after-shave lotion, shoe polish, woollens, and the rankness of a mature male’’. He describes his father directly with a comment on his smell. It is called ‘’direct characterization’’

The father is a flat character - he remains the same throughout the story. He remains being a jerk, while Charlie is a round character as he develops throughout the story. At first he is excited to see his father again, but he ends up not wanting to ever see him again.

We are dealing with a first person narrator, who in this story is the protagonist.

The ending could be seen as a surprise ending since Charlie starts being excited to see his father but ends up saying ‘’Goodbye’’ and never wanting to see him again. On the other hand it isn’t really surprising, as the father throughout the story seems very unpleasant and maybe even embarrassing to be around. It is a case of
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