This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

The Difficult Lesson Of The Enormous Radio

972 words - 4 pages

The Difficult Lesson of  The Enormous Radio  

"The Enormous Radio" by John Cheever begins with Jim and Irene Westcott who are an average American couple with an average American family. Cheever describes them as middle-aged, having two young children, a pleasant home, and a sufficient income. On the surface they seem to have a perfect life, but underneath this is not the case. In the course of the story, Irene’s imperfections are revealed by a hideous radio. The radio was bought to give the Westcott’s listening pleasure, but then they discover it can hear all the neighbors’ conversations. Irene becomes so obsessed with eavesdropping on her neighbors’ conversations, that it blinds her from her own problems.

It seems as though Irene’s life is innocent, and she does a good job of keeping her life looking as perfect as she can. Cheever describes how she selects her living room’s "furnishings and colors as carefully as her own" (817). The radio did not fit into her decorations, so she thought of it as standing "among her intimate possessions like an aggressive intruder" (817). Burton Kendal stated that, "Even before the radio starts broadcasting conversations from the neighboring apartments, its mere presence in the household oppresses the atmosphere" (128). This is a clue to the reader that the radio was not only an interruption to Irene’s decor, but an interruption to her life as well.

As Irene became obsessed with the radio, she "began to feel depressed, instead of delighted as she once had been" (Giordano 57). The radio revealed to her the most private and intimate secrets of her neighbors’ lives. It showed the conversations that nobody would share with others. As Jim claims to his wife, "It’s indecent. It’s like looking in windows" (Cheever 822). All of the arguments, anger, and affairs were foretold by the radio. But although it depresses her, Irene continues to listen. In her obsession with the radio she fails to realize how her life was pertinent to the lives of her neighbors. Smith states that Irene becomes "so involved in her neighbors’ predicaments, she fails to recognize her own" (59). She had deceived herself and everyone else into thinking that life was different from those around her. Not only does she have blindfolds on, but she seeks constant reassurance from Jim that their lives are not like those of her neighbors.

After listening to all her neighbors’ problems one day, she cries for Jim’s reassurance that they are happy and content. She tells Jim that, "Mrs. Hutchinson’s mother is dying of cancer," and "Mr. Hendricks is going to lose his job in April" (822). She wants Jim to reassure her that their life is not like their neighbors, so she asks Jim, "And we’re not hypercritical or worried about money or dishonest, are we?"...

Find Another Essay On The Difficult Lesson of The Enormous Radio

Exposing Social Class Struggles in The Enormous Radio

637 words - 3 pages John Cheever’s The Enormous Radio depicts the story of Jim and Irene Westcott’s discovery of their neighbor’s daily conflicts through a newly purchased radio. The significance of the radio being “newly purchased” is because the Westcotts do not seem to have financial issues; they live a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle off of Jim’s income. Cheever exposes the idea of social classes and their negative effect on the Westcott family, by

John Cheever's The Swimmer, O Youth and Beauty!, and The Enormous Radio

1873 words - 8 pages he experienced. Some of his most popuar works included “The Swimmer”, “O Youth and Beauty!”, and “The Enormous Radio”. His works were well received by the public and he achieved great fame during his lifetime. However, he also lived a life of hardship and scandal. Even after his death in 1982, Cheever is remembered as one of the greatest writers in American history. John Cheever’s childhood was riddled with troubles and adversities. He was born

The Future of Radio

444 words - 2 pages Radio has made great advancements over the years the future of radio is going mainly in two directions. Radio has made great improvements over the years looking back to the 1920's when radio only had an AM frequency. One direction radio is going is through satellites. In 2001 XM radio was launched and over 1 million subscribers were claimed. The satellite radio signal goes from coast to coast without commercials. But the downside to this

The History of the Radio

1764 words - 7 pages Photovoltaic CellsAs our society expands, there become greater needs for energy. The rate that we are currently using non-renewable resources is dreadful and they will be depleted quite soon. And so we should begin focusing on other forms of energy that can be harnessed and converted to a useable form. One great source of renewable energy is the Solar Energy for our sun. This energy can be converted to a usable form in a variety of ways. I will

FM Radio: The Rise and Fall of the Radio DJ?

1194 words - 5 pages Odds are if you have ever had a favorite radio show on a favorite FM radio station, it’s only a memory from days gone by. The age of the FM radio DJ has been a large part of our culture in the past, but is has slowly been coming to an end. Djs were a very important part of the 60s and pirate radio as well as, continuing to do so throughout the 70s and 80s. Now with the availability of internet radios and national radio stations having a

Analysis of "The Lesson"

834 words - 3 pages In Toni Bambara's, The Lesson, she tells the reader a story of one summer day from a young African American girl's perspective named Sylvia, who discovers at the very end that there's a heavily weighted lesson to learn from Miss Moore, though Sylvia might not know the meaning of the lesson yet. This story takes place in the 1960's, the beginning of the civil rights era. Bambara shows the reader that equality still does not exist in America, even

Summary of The Lesson

788 words - 3 pages Summary of The Lesson In this story the author tells us about a girl named Sylvia, the narrator, who lives in a very low income family. A place where school is not a priority. A place where it is more important to be strong and hard, than to read a book. This was the thought anyway, before Miss. Moore moved in. She was a school teacher who took it upon herself to teach the neighborhood kids. On one summer afternoon in particular she was

Description of the Lesson

1608 words - 6 pages traditional classroom setting, finding a type of formal assessment, such as a quiz or test, proved difficult. However, I believe that the level of engagement between the rangers and the guests could be considered an assessment. The questions asked by the guests demonstrated an interest in the subject that they were creatively processing and imagining what life would be life which generated questions. Additionally, it illustrated how guests embraced

The Difficult Childhood of Helen keller

1309 words - 5 pages ENG 1D1Major EssayThe Difficult Childhood of Helen KellerMaria Reyes DiazDec. 3/01Helen Adams Keller was born into a wealthy family on the summer of June 27, 1880, in Tuscumbia Alabama. Helen was a very intelligent girl who was interested in everything around her; at least she was able to enjoy the beauty of nature through vision and the beauty of speech and hearing for the first few months of her life. Helen's life dramatically changed when she

The Internet is an enormous network linking millions of home

791 words - 3 pages The Internet is an enormous network linking millions of home and corporate computers and networks together and runs on a protocol called TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol). It was created in 1983 and grew rapidly beyond its largely academic origin into an increasingly commercial and popular medium.The original uses of the Internet were to be able to control computers remotely if a nuclear war was ever happen. The World Wide

The Difficult Truth

1030 words - 5 pages difficult to see why changing tradition could be beneficial. This becomes a fallacy when the arguer cannot explain why the tradition should not be changed, but instead uses the excuse that because something is tradition it should continue unchanged. In other instances, there are fallacies than can either be erroneous or deliberate. The false dilemma fallacy is a perfect example of this. If a writer or speaker is simply blind to any other

Similar Essays

The Enormous Radio Essay

1282 words - 5 pages Jim and Irene Westcott are part of the upper-middle class community in the fashionable area on New York City\rquote s east side. They live on the 12th floor of an apartment building near Sutton Place, which is a suburban community outside New York. The Westcott\rquote s have a very passionate love for the theatre and music this is why when there radio goes out they almost immediately purchased a new one. The Westcott\rquote s purchase of the new

The Symbolic Meaning Of The Radio In The Enormous Radio

662 words - 3 pages The Symbolic Meaning of the Radio in The Enormous Radio       Many authors use the personification of inanimate objects to symbolize the feelings and expressions of their characters. One example of this is in John Cheever’s short story, "The Enormous Radio." Although critics argue that the characteristics of the radio are the opposite of those of Jim and Irene Westcott, the radio actually reflects the couple’s life. Even though in the

John Cheever's The Enormous Radio Essay

636 words - 3 pages John Cheever's "The Enormous Radio" 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

Hidden Truths In The Enormous Radio

864 words - 3 pages Hidden Truths in The Enormous Radio      John Cheever’s "The Enormous Radio" represents the enormous amount of hidden truths in American society of the 1940s. The problems with society during this time were hidden behind a facade of goodness; however, this false innocence becomes visible through the radio owned by the Westcotts. The radio causes the Westcotts to evolve from an innocent, naive pair who believe that everything they see is