The Country Husband

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(Okay, I have not gotten back my mark for this essay yet, so it might be considered very bad. I am only putting this in here so that I can sign up. Use with discretion!) The character Francis Weed in the short story “The Country Husband” by John Cheever might be a very difficult character for the reader to sympathize with, since he did so many cruel and selfish things to the people around him. However, at the very least, his actions can be easily explained by the suppressive 1950’s environment that he had lived in for so long, his “brush with death” on the airplane which made him driven to enjoy life, as well as his family’s own self-absorbed nature that left him feeling isolated. The story is based in the stereotypical American 1950’s suburban environment and, according to Nicholas Hun Brown of the Toronto Star, is one of the first stories to illustrate the “alienating and conformity”-based culture in suburbs (Brown para.24). Francis Weed himself subconsciously finds the suburbs repressive to his personality. The first sign of how repressed he feels is when he recognizes the maid at the party. Despite its significance as a once-in-a-million meeting, he feels as though he cannot say anything, since; “The people in Farquarson’s Living room seem united in their tactic claim that there had been no past, no war—That there was no danger or trouble in the world.” (pg 76) This incident may have triggered Francis unconscious resistance against the narrow and irrelevant suburban society. In fact, Francis Weed’s name is a symbol of what his true self is to Shady Hills; an ugly troublesome “weed” to the regular people, and that he will remain unhappy by staying in Shady Hills. Francis Weed’s “brush with death” at the stories beginning causes him to have the epiphany to start enjoying life, and he realizes that he is unhappy with following suburban
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