Reunion by John Cheever

This study guide will help you analyze the short story “Reunion” (1962) by John Cheever. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

John Cheever (1912-1982) was an American novelist and short-story writer. His fiction often explores the duality of human nature and his characters’ inner conflicts. The short story “Reunion” was initially published in The New Yorker, and later in the collection The Stories of John Cheever (1978). Cheever, who has dealt with alcoholism for a great part of his life, explores this problem in “Reunion”. 


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


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

  • 18-06-2023
    Givet af HF-elev på 2. år