John Cheevers Reunion

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John Cheever presents a deceptively simple tale in his short story, Reunion. In many ways the story concerns what its title suggests - a reunion between two people, in this case father and son. But the structure of the story, moving through several different scenes within a short space of time, essentially suggesting a much longer "journey", both literally and metaphorically, render these realistic plot elements supernaturalistic on closer examination.


There is a random, essentially realistic nature to this meeting. The boy (young man) is on a trip from one place to another and has a couple of hours to kill. His father happens to live in New York so he will be a good source of lunch. The reader can probably imagine him/herself doing the same in a similar situation.
The casual nature of this meeting continues with the statement that "he was a stranger to me - my mother divorced him three years ago and I hadn't been with him since" (Cheever, 1978). This tone to the story sets the realistic elements firmly within its structure, but there are also supernaturalistic tones that are soon set in place. These tones are introduced in the same sentence as the idea of the "stranger" occurs:
The phrase "future and doom" places the story in a different context. In the way of the fairy tale, in which people's present and future are in many ways set by past misdeeds or good deeds, so the narrator's fate is set by his father. The casual reunion has turned into a foretasting of the future. ...
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