Essay: 'Reunion' by John Cheever and 'Living with Strangers' by Siri Hustvedt

Family is something you are born into it is not something you can choose. Many families have some issues someone has more than others. If parents get divorced, you as a child have to live with it no matter what. Even though it is the child it goes beyond.

In the short story ‘Reunion’ published in 1962 written by john Cheever, the short story starts on Grand Central Station in New York were a boy named Charlie is going to meet his father after 3 years. The setting I the short story is changing a lot of times during the story, because Charlie’s father drag him into different bars and restaurants, we are not being told the name on the 4 different bars and restaurants. The shot story starts on Grand Central Station in New York and it also ends at the same place because Charlie was taking the train and got some time between the stations. For ensample: ‘I was going from my grandmother’s in the Adirondacks to cottage on the Cape that my mother had rented, and I wrote my father that I would be in New York between trains for an hour and a half and asked if we could have lunch together.’ In the example above you also find out the duration of Charlie and his fathers meeting wish is an hour and a half.
From the first sentence to the very last there have been many changes on hope and fallings. In that begging of the story Charlie reaction on seeing his father was happiness and a lot of joy because Charlie finally is reunited with his father that he had dent seen in three years and lots of hopes to get a father son relationship again. In the end Charlie’s view on his father is changes completely because the fathers behaviour is so obnoxious that they are been thrown out of several bars and restaurants. In one of the bars, the actually owner have to kicked them out after the father yelled at a waiter another example is ‘Kellner!” he shouted. “Gar??on! Cameriere! You!” His boisterousness in the empty restaurant seemed out of place. “Could we have a little service here!” he shouted. ‘Chop-chop.’ Then he clapped his hands.
Charlie realizes that his father is really not what he had hoped for or pictured in his head.
When I was finished with the story I realize that the dialogues is manly between waiters and the father. Actually it is only in the end that Charlie and his father have a dialogue were Charlie is about to leave and the father really wants to give him a newspaper.

I will characterize the father very rude, bossy and arrogant the way he talks to people in the bars and restaurants. For example: ‘Is it asking too much for you to sell me one of your disgusting specimens of yellow journalism’? I will also describe the father a little bit aggressive because he might be an alcoholic. He seems a bit nerves because he hasn’t seen his son in a long time. He tries so hared to impress his son that he ends up even makes it worse than it was before. The father is very indifferent the way he behaves so badly towards the waiters to impress his son and drag his son to different bars and restaurants than spend quality time with Charlie. He even tries to buy his underage son a drink that shows very clear that he has no sense of morals.
Totally opposite of the father we have the main character Charlie that is very calm and humble. His parents are divorced on third year. He hasn’t seen his father since his parents divorced and feels that his father is a total stranger. “My mother divorced him three years ago and I hadn’t been with him since” It locks like he is embarrassed and ashamed of his father. Charlie doesn’t speak negatively about his father but in the ending reveals that he disapproves of his father.
He is polite because he is saying goodbye on a good way instated of leaving him. He actually wants to have taken a picture so I have some memories of him ‘I wished that we could be photographed. I wanted some record of our having been together’.
Charlie is trying to figure out who his father is and he is aware of that his father isn’t the best person in the world. Charlie realized that the man he once knew and the wonderful picture he had of his father was only an illusion. The relationship between Charlie and his father is not very good because they have not seen each other for tree years. Charlie would rally like to have a father son relationship with his father. The secretary in the start of the story shows us that the father he doesn’t want to waste time on his son. Because the father cant even give the messages by him self.
In the short story Charlie is the one who develops most because Charlie was eager and looked very much forward to rebuild his relationship with is father and spent more time with him. During the short story Charlie realize that his father is very rude and arrogant and not the way he had hoped and illustrate. Opposite his father did not change at all in the short story. When Charlie said goodbye he was still rude and arrogant like in the start. In the start he was rude to the waiters and in the end were he is aggressive against the paper seller. I was very surprised that the father would rather discuss with the paper seller than say goodbye to his own son and that just shows how selfish he is and haven’t ben a good father.
The parallels between the two texts ‘living with strangers’ by Siri Hustvedt and ‘reunion’ is first of all both told in first person narrator and include previous experiences that have happened like a flashback. The two texts show the struggles that families can have and how you are surrounded by strangers in New York. By that I also mean that the father is a stranger to Charlie. Another parallels is about how people choose to behave and act I front of other people, with that I mean that the fathers behavior is very rude to all the strangers. The son is an example of the rule ‘pretend it doesn’t happen’ which we hear about in the short story ‘living with strangers’. I will say although you just ignore things and just pretend nothing has happened then all surroundings still have a major influence on us.

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