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Father Son Relationship in "reunion"

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Father-Son Relationship in "Reunion"

As children we look up to our parents as role models, it is universal that we have the need to have them in our lives, to feel loved by them. They are the people who should be responsible for our upbringing and in molding the way we are to be as adults. The role of a parent is not just providing food and shelter but also providing a good example. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. There are parents who for one reason or another are not there for their children, parents who do not set the right example to their kids. In the story "Reunion" by John Cheever we see a perfect example of how a father does not step up to his role as a parent and the effect it has on his son. We see the need of a son for a 'father'. We see the disappointment but we also see the growth of a son through his father's flaws.

In the exposition of this story we find out that Charlie's last time seeing his father was in-between trains, three years after his mother had divorced him. Immediately we see into Charlie's thoughts what he thought of him. "He was a stranger to me" "-my flesh and blood, my future and my doom"(p207). By simply stating that this man was a stranger to Charlie we see that their relationship was not a healthy one. A son usually wants to mirror his father in their adulthood but in this case Charlie sees this role model as a 'doom'.

Charlie gives us the initial characterization of his father by observing and smelling the following: "He was a big good looking man," "I smelled my father as my mother sniffs a rose. It was a rich compound of whiskey, aftershave lotion, shoe polish, woolens, and the rankness of a mature male." The character image he has set for this man is of possibly an arrogant alcoholic. As the story unravels itself we see that in fact he is one. When going into the restaurants we see that Charlie's father has a condescending attitude towards the waiters. When trying to order his whiskey he raises his voice and speaks in different languages as to portray his superiority. As ironic as it is, when attempting to belittle the waiter at one the restaurants he orders "two Bibson Geefeaters." (p208)

As the hour and a half passed, Charlie's father's behavior became more and more obnoxious. The question of why Charlie himself did not put a stop to this is definite in the reader's eyes. We may conclude, with the information given in the exposition that Charlie knew he had the option of never seeing his father again. The train could symbolize that this encounter with his father was a 'quick stop' in his journey in life. By not reacting with the same negative



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