New York can be a complicated place that is a state as well as “The Big Apple”. John Cheever’s, “The Reunion”, illustrates how a young man’s idealized memories and high expectations of his father’s image shift downwards when he observes his father’s obnoxious behaviors. During the beginning of the story, the son mentions that he is traveling from Adirondacks to Central Station in New York. As a Canadian foreigner, I was unfamiliar with the locations that were mentioned. With the addition of my literary map, it helped me visualize the character’s commuting distance which highlights the separation between the son and father as well as explains how the son never had a chance to connect with his father. This can be related to one of the biggest relationship facts – long distance relationships always fail to work. From my map analysis, the distance between the father and son is approximately 384 km, which is almost the width of the state. Furthermore, the father indicates wealth throughout the story, as he had employed a secretary and claimed to own a club near the 60th street. When I browsed over the 60th street, the neighborhood was prosperous with skyscraper buildings. These buildings could be a lofty metaphor for the father’s condescending attitude to people that are smaller than him such as waiters and newsstand clerks. From the son’s perspective, the father’s wealth and his appealing capital indicate the idolizing mentality of the son who becomes disillusioned.
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Cheever, John. “Reunion.” The New Yorker, 27 Oct. 1962, p. 45.