Empathy In John Cheever's Reunion

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Merriam-Webster describes empathy as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences: the ability to share someone else’s feelings”. Anyone has the ability to know what someone else is going through. However, only a few have the ability to feel what you are feeling which leads to a deeper connection and feeling sympathy for them. John Cheever tells a heartbreaking story of a son, Charlie, meeting his father again for the first time in three years in the short story “Reunion”. Cheever uses a blend of grotesque, pathos, and humor to evoke empathy in the reader which leads to the reader sympathize with Charlie to create a deeper connection for the reader. Cheever creates grotesque characters to create some sort of empathy in readers. In the first paragraph, when…show more content…
When Charlie describes his father, he calls him a stranger and says he hadn’t seen him since. This makes a reader connect with Charlie and feel sad because a father is supposed to be an important figure in a young boy’s life, yet he was basically a stranger in his life. Charlie’s willingness to meet his father even though he hadn’t seen him in three years show me how eager he is and makes a reader feel bad for him when his father turns out to be a big disappointment. The story ended with the last sentence as “Goodbye Daddy,” I said and I went down the stairs and got my train, that was the last time I saw my father.” Since the story ends so abruptly, it leaves a reader feeling empty longing for more. This is an excellent example of empathy because that’s how Charlie feels at the end of the story after seeing his father. He obviously had high expectations which can be demonstrated by the grotesque. Instead of putting in effort towards his son, his father spends the entire time being rude to waiters. This makes the reader sympathetic even if they didn’t like the father because Charlie is obviously

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