The Westcotts buy a radio which in some peculiar fashion picks up sounds in other By John Cheever Jim has the radio fixed so that there is no interference. by John Cheever One day, their old radio stops working and Jim promises to buy a new one. The Enormous Radio Questions and Answers. In The Enormous Radio by John Cheever we have the theme of privacy, secrecy, obsession, doubt, change and control. Set in an apartment.

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In The Enormous Radio by John Cheever we have the theme of privacy, secrecy, obsession, doubt, change and control. Set in an apartment building in s New York the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed, omniscient narrator and has a suspenseful mood. Cheever succeeding in drawing the reader further into the story, right enorkous the end, till it reaches a climax.

It is also noticeable that Cheever is using symbolism in the story, the cgeever itself. There is also a sense of irony in the story. The radio was bought by Jim to bring happiness into the family home, instead it brings, conflict internaldoubt and obsession.

Cheever explores the theme of privacy several times in the story.

There is the johhn eavesdropping by Irene on her neighbours. There is also is also the fact that Irene and Jim live a relatively private life. Their friends are unaware of their interest in classical music, they have never told anyone.

Not only does this suggest a heightened privacy within Irene but it also delves into the theme of secrecy and obsession. No longer is she interested in listening to classical music on the radio, her main focus or obsession is on listening to her neighbours. The theme of obsession is further explored in the story when the reader finds that Irene, as soon as Jim has gone to work and her children have gone to school, turns on the radio to find out more about her neighbours.


Cheever also explores the idea of obsession, cherver little earlier in the story when Ejormous gets up from bed and turns the radio on. Throughout the story she is fixated or obsessed by the radio.

In modern terms it would chdever be coined as an addiction. The reader also begins to realise that Irene is not in complete control, every day revolves around the radio and eavesdropping on her rafio. There is also a change within Irene. She no longer is the plain, ordinary, middle class woman that the narrator describes at the beginning of the story.

The Enormous Radio

She feels in some ways empowered by the knowledge she has acquired from listening to her neighbours arguments kohn their hidden secrets. In essence she has begun to judge people and may possibly consider herself to be better that those around her neighbours. An example of this is when Jim and Irene are at the dinner party.

The fadio has not only brought obsession but it has brought doubt too for Irene. He also tells her that he is aware that she has not paid her clothing bill.

Jim telling Irene that things are not looking positive in his job. I tend to focus more on the use of language, so I found your analysis really helpful. Thanks for dropping by the blog. Just checked out your post.

Language is important and it is probably something that I should look into a little further. The reader can learn so much by understanding the language used by a writer.

Thanks for the comment Brett. I would agree with you, there is a sense of irony at the end of the story. By ending the story with a news report about a tragedy in Japan, Cheever succeeds in highlighting how disinterested or unconcerned an cheevsr may be when those affected are not known or as you mention are faceless. That was awesome, but can you just shed some more light on this story regarding post-colonialism?


Is there any way to analyze this story from that approach?

The Enormous Radio by John Cheever

Thanks for the comment Nooshin. However if the reader considers the radio itself to be an over-powering force, similar to a country that might force itself upon another country, it could be suggested that the radio like a colonizing country has a negative effect or has the potential to have a negative effect on the individual.

It might also be possible to suggest that Irene has become de-humanized in some way. No longer having the ability to be compassionate or caring towards another human being her neighbours. Thanks a lot for the criticism you prevailed. Would you please explain whether is it possible to have an approach based on Lankan theory?

She always sees herself the best and better than other people selfishness and childish pride. Thanks for the comment Morad. One of the great things about The Jojn Radio is that it is open to interpretation and allows itself to be analysed in many different ways and through different analytical lens. Your email address will not be published.

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Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. Cite Post McManus, Dermot. The Sitting Bee, 28 Mar. Facebook Twitter Email Print. Dermot Post Author August 14, 2: Brett October 24, 1: Dermot Post Author October 24, Dermot Post Author December 2, 5: Morad December 5, 8: Dermot Post Author December 6, Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email.