The short story Reunion is written by the American writer John Cheever. Like this story, most of his fictions takes place near Manhattan, New York. Where he also lived, and it is properly therefor his stories takes place in New York, because he think that all the different people makes the city the most interesting.
The son is the teller of the story. We can see that in the first line, where we are introduces to the main theme in the text. It means that every impression we, as readers, gets is giving by the boy. It also imply that it is not everything I can trust in the text. Sometimes when he tells us about his father, we do not know if he exaggerate or is telling it as it happened.
The story is taking places in New York in 1962. Where he meets his father at Grand Central Station.
It is the city where everything can happened. It is very central on Manhattan and tells us a little bit about his father. However, it does not seems like the father fit in in these settings.
The main character of the short story is Charlie. He is still a teenager, we can read that I line 42, where a waiter asked if he was old enough, and after his father’s reaction, I will guess that he is under 21 years old. His parents are divorced and he has not seen his father for 3 years. One day Charlie was traveling with trains and had to spend one and a half hour in New York. He arranged a meeting with his father, which tells us that he care about his father. When they first meet, Charlie likes his father. It was as they have been together all the time. He sniffed his father, and he wished that someone would take a picture. Because he thought that, this was going to be perfect. The boy could see himself in his father, and thought that he was going to be like him, but after they have visited the restaurants, and after he had seen his manners, the boy changed his mind, he wanted to leave his dad, and luckily he had the excuse to leave him.
His father seems to look good, that is what his son tells us, in line 12. He is talking nice about himself and his “club”, but I think he is doing it to look good to his son. He has highly missed his son and he want to give a good impression. He is talking down to the waiters, and trying to put himself on a pedestal. However, nobody likes when he is doing that, and he lost his son in that way. It can also be that he is a well-paid man, who feels good about himself, when other is feeling bad. He was dressed nice, but he also had the smell of whiskey. Therefore, he could just be a rich club owner in the middle of New York. But he could also be an alcohol addicted father without a job. It seems like he has travelled a lot, because he speaks different languages to the restaurants employees.
I read the story like it is a flashback. I read it as it is Charlie as a grown man who tells the story to someone else. It is obvious not an objective short story, but it seems like a diary to me. The story is build op with some information; for example why Charlie is in New York. Then the text tells us what happened in New York. Followed by what the consequence was to the deed. It tells us very little about the main character, but we get to know his father.
The father is speaking very different, he is not using slang, but he is using brakes or pauses, so the sentences seems a bit funnier. He is not speaking so formally, but he use other languages to act, as he is very international man.
I think that the writer behind this short story, want to tell a story about a son seeing his father for the first time in a few years. The writer let Charlie look up to his father, but the father cannot handle the attention and destroy it for himself. I think the plot, or the theme, in the text is man against man. The father has that one chance to have a good time with his son, and he spoil it. It could also be man against self, where the father is the main character in the plot. The reason why I think that is, the father’s acts end up destroying the opportunity to build a life with his son.
The two stories share some things. From the start, we gets an introduction to the persons. Then we learn about them through their acts, instead of reading about them. And in the end we can see some changes in the stories, Charlie goes from, liking his father to never seeing him again. The main Character in “living with strangers” chances her mind about the unwritten rules “Pretend it is not happening.” She tells us stories she has witness, but when the act take place she pretended as if she did not noted it. Charlie is also closing his eyes for some of the issues with his father’s behavior. It could be because he just wanted to spend some time with his father without thinking about him as a problem. In the text, Charlie never got the time to tell about himself, and that can be an act of the same rule “Pretend it is not happening .”
I can also draw some analogous in the way they are build up. Both stories takes place in New York, the city where everyone are so busy about himself or herself, that they forgot anybody else. The two stories are wrote as a diary or a blog. The two main character tells the stories. And they include some of the persons they meet on the street.
The two stories are also different; “Reunion” has two main characters. It is an interaction between a father and his son. As I have talk about, the story is about man against man. While “living with strangers” has one main character, but include many persons, actually she include the whole way of living in New York. Therefor the plot “man against environment” mark the story.
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