The Enormous Radio Analysis

1433 Words 6 Pages
The unauthenticity of society
In today’s society we focus a lot on authenticity and being authentic. We go to great lengths to make sure we are and everything we have is genuine. Unfortunately, in order to achieve this, we sometimes lose the very essence of what we were trying to achieve. John Cheever’s famous work, “The Enormous Radio” demonstrates just that. In this essay I will be focusing on the inauthenticity of society as illustrated in “The Enormous Radio”. I will argue that that the inauthenticity in society illustrated in the story is caused by the fear of what others thinks and the need to keep up appearances. To begin I will look at how the text identifies and understands authenticity. I will continue by discussing how this causes
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One of these consequences is obsession. The people in this sort of world are obsessed with the lives of others. The story illustrates this obsession when Irene become obsessed with listening to the radio after she discovers she can listen to her neighbor’s conversations. Irene becomes obsessed with acquiring other secrets she even takes it with her into her social life when she has lunch with a friend. The narrator says, “she looked searchingly at her friend and wondered what her secrets were.” (Cheever, p.4) A contained society also gives way to the development of paranoia. People in this kind of society are hiding so many things behind the surface that they develop sense of paranoia. They become extremely afraid that someone is going to figure out the secrets they have been working so hard to contain. An excellent example of this in the story is Irene. The fear Irene has that her neighbors will find out about their troubles causes Irene to become paranoid. By illustrating the consequences of being a part of a superficial and contained society the story is trying to show the impact of the loss of …show more content…
In this type of world people cannot be their true selves and live their lives as they please. In the story, the character of Irene is an excellent example of how a person seizes to be authentic when they live in a superficial society. For instance, although the family is going through a difficult financial situation Irene is still spending money on unnecessary things like slip-covers and parties. Jim tells her, “You’ve got to understand that we won’t have as much money this year as we had last.” (Cheever, p.7). Their neighbors have also lost their authenticity because of the contained society the live in. We can this is in the cocktail party Irene listens to. In this party there are people who are stealing from each other and someone who is trying to force his significant other to make conversation. The people at this party are frivolous and have lost sight of what it means to be authentic. Via the contained society of the character the story is seeking to say that if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the superficiality of the world around us we will lose our authenticity as a

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