The Five Eighty Eight By John Cheever

Decent Essays

What personality traits do we display with our actions? Our personalities are shaped by our life experiences and the people around us. They’re shaped by our upbringing, the way our parents treated us and the many thing we learned from them. They’re shaped by our past experiences - whether a being on the receiving end of a kind deed by another person, or the receiving end of a gross injustice. These experiences shape our personalities and in turn shape how we view the world and treat those around us. John Cheever’s “The Five-Forty-Eight” is the story about a woman trying to put herself back together after being broken, albeit in a slightly questionable way. Miss Dent is a woman who previously spent 8 months in a hospital, and is still clearly a bit unhinged. She is a fragile woman who becomes attached to Mr. Blake after he hires her as his secretary. Mr. Blake sees how vulnerable she is and takes advantage of her, afterwards having an employee fire her and keep her from seeing him. Months later Miss Dent stalks Mr. Blake, cornering him on the Five-Forty-Eight. Mr. Blake is terrified, but Miss Dent claims she will not kill him as long as he listens to her. After Miss Dent has made him feel the way he made her, she leaves him on the platform; weeping as he made her, but unharmed. Many aspects of Mr. Blake’s personality are displayed throughout the story as we observe his thoughts and the way he treats others. Two powerful personality traits dominate Mr. Blake in John Cheever’s

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