Friday, January 24, 2020

Essay --

Shady Hill is first portrayed as the perfect town. Located in the upper-middle class suburbs of New York City during the 1950s, Shady Hill appears to be the ideal place for a family to live and is the setting for the short story "The County Husband" by John Cheever. The inhabitants are well mannered and educated. They can only associate with a restricted number of people who are in the norm. Unsurprising, once the plastic wrap is pulled away the city’s flaws come into focus. "It seems to me what is really wrong with Shady Hill is that it doesn't have any future. So much energy is spent in perpetuating the place in keeping out undesirables, and so forth..." (Cheever 82) tch Colonial home that the Weeds reside in giving such animated description as "it was not the kind of household where, after prying open a stuck cigarette box, you would find an old shirt button and a tarnished nickel" (Cheever 72). His life is one of genteel complacency, as we see from this description of his house. It may not seem to describe Shady Hill but in many ways it does. The reader begins to form an opinion of a city that contains this type of residence, a residence where "roses on the piano were reflected in the polish of the broad top..." (Cheever 72). The opinion is that Shady Hill is one of statute, and a person’s house is always kept in pristine condition. The reader may not realize that perhaps the house is kept in such tidy condition not for the sake of the family but to impress others that may come over unannounced. The description of the house should show a reader that material possessions are of great importance to Shady Hill community members. The world outside their suburb remains more than an unknown quantity; in this case... ...d reality: â€Å"for if he couldn’t tell one person from another, what evidence was there that his life with Julia and the children had as much reality as his dream of iniquity in Paris or the litter, the grass smell, and the cave-shaped trees in Lovers’ Lane† (Cheever 85). There is a useful connection to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. In the end, Hawthorne and Cheever reintegrate their protagonists into their societies because, in fact, neither author really believes that there is any other arena for human fulfillment than that of human society. The Farquarsons’ maid is the unacknowledged Hester Prynne in the midst of Shady Hill, while Weed wrings his hands—or whittles wood—like a suburban Dimmesdale. At the end of â€Å"The Country Husband,† the real question concerns the nature of the suburban society into which Cheever reintegrates his characters.

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