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Reunion by John Cheever | Analysis

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Reunion” by John Cheever. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on plot and structure, characterization and themes.

Presentation of texts

Title: “Reunion”
Author: John Cheever
Genre: Short story
Year of Publication: 1962

John Cheever was an American novelist and short story writer. He was born in 1912. The short story “Reunion” was included in a collection called “The Stories of John Cheever” in 1978.

Structure

The structure of "The Reunion" is important for your analysis. The five moments that compose the plot are not identical in length. The rising action and the climax are the longest, followed by the exposition, falling action and resolution. When it comes to the rhythm of the short story, the reader can easily follow it. In the beginning, the father’s speech is composed of long, elaborate and ironical sentences. Later on, it becomes obvious that the alcohol has affected both his behavior and his speech. He begins to talk louder, in shorter sentences, thus becoming the embodiment of a stereotypical alcoholic. 

The climax

In the short story, the climax is the moment when the father’s drinking problem becomes troublesome. After the waiter in the second restaurant refuses to serve him another drink, he causes trouble in the third restaurant and gets even angrier in the forth.

The falling action

Even if very short, this moment is still present in the short story. It is represented by the moment when the father apologizes to the son for the inconvenience. According to him, the inconvenience was not represented by him getting drunk and causing trouble, but by the behavior of the waiters.

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Reunion by John Cheever | Analysis

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