The Five Forty Eight By John Cheever Analysis Essay

Good vs. Evil in John Cheever's The Five-Forty-Eight Essay

1307 Words6 Pages

Good vs. Evil in John Cheever's The Five-Forty-Eight

John Cheever was an award winning American author of the twentieth century. His work often possessed 'psychological and religious vision' with central themes of 'sin, deception, and redemption' (Kennedy, 551). Cheever's short story entitled 'The Five-Forty-Eight' portrays a struggle of good vs. evil. Following the themes of sin, deception, and redemption, we read of a young woman (good) seeking revenge for the evil done to her. Through the course of the story the reader can distinguish between the traits of good and evil.

The Webster's dictionary defines evil as 'that which is morally wrong.' Blake has some distinct morality issues. Blake, the evil force in the story, possesses…show more content…

His relationships are not the only area of his life that we see Blake?s evil nature rise. There are subtle hints of his self obsession throughout Cheever?s story. Early on in the story, Blake is admiring himself in a plate glass window and sees himself with ?a clear reflection? and the crowds ?like shadows at his back? (551). He then sees Mrs. Dent as a ?contorted being? (551) in the same window. Blake sees himself as a flawless creature of complete perfection with the mass of city pedestrians as a blur behind his faultlessness, and he can easily pick out the imperfections in other individuals. He sees himself as the ultimate perfection, instead of seeing the negative impact he has on his friends and family. His negative interactions with friends and family are the evil force that breaks his relationships. There is no mention of any moral actions performed by him.

We find yet another example of Blake?s immoral actions through his self-conceit. He fails to comfort a crying Mrs. Dent, ?he felt too contented and warm and sleepy to worry about her tears? (553). Blake has no compassion for others; he only worries about his own affairs. This is indicative that Blake is morally wrong.

Blake so genuinely sees himself as perfect that it is virtually impossible for him to accept any minor mistakes he makes. When he first comes across Mrs. Dent after their affair, he is surprised to find that he cannot

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Essay about A Feminist Reading of Cheever’s The Five-Forty-Eight

1109 Words5 Pages

A Feminist Reading of The Five-Forty-Eight

The short story "The Five-Forty-Eight" by John Cheever concerns the issue of a woman scorned by the inhumane treatment she has received by men, most notably that of Blake, whose oppression serves as the turning point in her life. This generalization is often the focus of a feminist criticism. Feminists believe that women should have equal rights as men, and they seek to "correct or supplement what they regard as a predominantly male-dominated critical perspective with a feminist consciousness" (Meyer 2014). In this short story, using a feminist consciousness to read the text helps to understand the reasoning behind Miss Dent's need to defeat the idea that males dominate over women. Miss…show more content…

The next day, as soon as Miss Dent was "out to lunch, he called personnel and asked them to fire her. Then he took the afternoon off" (81). Blake is too much of a guilty coward to face Miss Dent after their affairs the night before. To rid himself of his newest problem, he simply fires her although he does not have the guts to fire her himself. As a direct result of the hurt and scorn Miss Dent has experienced throughout her life, mainly at the hands of Blake, she is permanently troubled. While confronting Blake she tells him, "you don't know what I've been through. I'm afraid to go out in the daylight" (88). Miss Dent's experience with a monster such as Blake has left her extremely insecure and hurt.

Blake is not alone in causing Miss Dent's destruction; although, in this story he is a stereotype of all the men in her life who have treated her the same hurtful way. Miss Dent views Blake just like every other man in her life. Blake acknowledges the fact that he is like all men because on the train he noticed that "he dressed like the rest of [them] as if he admitted to the existence of the sumptuary laws" (82). Every man on the train, with the exception of a few, dresses the same, in non-colorful clothes. The sumptuary laws refer to the Roman laws that regulate the type of clothes worn in public. Blake is in the majority of business class men

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