The Enormous Radio Essay

This essay has a total of 651 words and 3 pages.

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 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 from their friends, their classmates, and their
neighbors only in an interest in music. They went to a great many concerts although they
never mentioned this to anyone" (1). In the rest of the story Irene Westcott has an
addiction to an eavesdropping radio that reveals the personalities and business of her
friends and neighbors.

When their first radio breaks down, Jim buys another as a gift for his wife. At first
Irene is rather put off by the "physical ugliness of the large gumwood

cabinet." Its "dials flooded with a malevolent green light," and inside the cabinet held
"violent forces" (1). More disturbing is the radio's tendency to pick up interference.
Wanting to hear music, Irene instead hears ringing telephones and the conversations and
disagreements of her neighbors.
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