"The Enormous Radio" by John Cheever

06Jan05

I liked this story a lot. Actually. A lot more than I thought I would.

This story has some interesting themes. Jim and Irene Westcott appear to be the most ordinary couple at the beginning of the story. The appearance of the radio causes them to confront the aspects of life that do not fit into their average world. But by the end, the darker side of their relationship reveals itself. Irene engages in voyeurism and indulges in the sinister radio and her indulgence provokes a dark response from Jim. Cheever seems to be suggesting that everyone has a dark side to them—there is no ordinary family.

Technology is presented in a very foreboding light. The radio is a sinister object that reveals the cracks in the Westcotts’ relationship. The Westcotts – “Neither of them understood the mechanics of the radio—or of any of the other appliances that surrounded them” – are helpless to technology and become the victims of the radio.

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