The Enormous Radio Essay

648 Words3 Pages
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. A way the Westcotts try to live up to their society is by keeping secret the fact that they listen to the radio and attend musical events. This is because these activities were not something members of their community did. For example, Cheever says the "Westcotts differed…show more content…
She becomes astonished and uneasy over the relationships of her neighbors. This changes her personality. She spends all her time at home with the radio until she needs to take care of her two children. One sign of addiction is depression. She becomes so overwhelmed with the others lives that she tells her husband "It's so depressing" and "All the others have been quarrelling all day… They're all worried about money" (5). The radio that used to give her pleasure, now only gives her sorrow. In a very short time she has lost self control and can't turn the radio off on her own.

Jim solves the problem by getting the radio fixed at a cost of four hundred dollars.
Now Jim complains "Four hundred dollars is a good deal more than I can afford," and
"It's the last extravagance we'll be able to indulge in this year" (6). This incident causes the Westcotts to question the "perfection" of their own marriage, and Jim and Irene end up having a disagreement about dishonesty. It is shown that the
Westcotts are not flawless when Jim makes his enraged speech to Irene. This speech entails how he's sick of her addiction to the radio. Also he is disgusted about her stealing jewelry and money from her sister and about the nonchalant manner in which she went to have an abortion. What the enormous radio did for the Westcotts was to make them see that they should fix their problems
Get Access