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Response to John Cheever’s “Reunion” Essay

John Cheever’s “Reunion” is solely a recall of one of his own memories mainly about a reunion with his father, but the article has a more subtle implication psychologically when it comes to a relationship between a prolonged absent father and an innocent son, who was so looking forward to meeting his father and expected a change in him. By describing a bizarre experience with his father, Cheever challenges us to ruminate on whether we can accept our families for being who they really are. Every reader’s own judgment to this question differs with their own personal experiences with their family. I myself felt really sorry for the author when I was reading his experience. Cheever obviously felt really comfortable seeing his father again three years later after the divorce of his parents, and he described his father as “a big, good-looking man” and he was “terribly happy to see him again” (563, Thinking and Writing about Literature, 2nd Edition).

The usage of “terribly happy” in the text indicates the excitement of the author when he was meeting his father. I felt the same way when I met my father again seven years after the divorce of my parents and I have to say that was the most horrifying experience in my entire life because I finally got to see who my father really is. The author also portrayed his father as an arrogant human being and someone who lacked the basic courtesy of etiquette by showing the conversations between his father and the waiters in various restaurants. The especially insulting ones were perhaps when his father was trying to buy a newspaper in a newsstand where he described the newspapers as “goddamned, no-good, ten-cent afternoon papers” (564, Thinking and Writing about Literature, 2nd Edition).

The reason why I felt sad about the author is because he perhaps was expecting a change in his father. My father didn’t disappoint me, the only reason why my father and my mother got divorced was merely mutual. And Cheever’s father did try to impress Cheever when he subtly implies that he owns a club and he used different languages to call upon the waiters, but those behaviors just came off rude and pernicious. I believed that the author was obviously devastated when he saw the manners of his father which led to the final “good-bye” between those two for the rest of their lives.


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