The Actions Of The Five Forty Eight

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John Cheever ‘s “ The Five-Forty- Eight ” explores how actions have effects through his portraiture of the character Blake. Blake is introduced in the narrative as a heartless, selfish, and immoral adult male who is the victim of a still hunt by an evidently disquieted adult female. While married he has had a one dark base with Miss Dent, his secretary, and so he had her discharged. He believed that ‘Her self-doubt, the feeling of want in her point of position, promised to protect him from effects ‘ ( Cheever 319 ) . Unfortunately for him, Miss Dent is mentally impaired. Therefore, she seeks retaliation by stalking him and so keeping him at gun-point on a train near his place. Through the character Blake, Cheever uses sarcasm, imagination, and flashbacks to present this narrative in order to show that actions have effects, but non all who experience wake, even negative wake, alteration from it.

Blake, like a marauder, seeks out weak adult females to slake his sexual appetency, and he has no emotional fond regard to any of them. The narrative shows that he observed Miss Dent for awhile before he decided to utilize her being alone to his benefit. Harold Bloom ‘s sum-up of the narrative puts it good ; Bloom states that “ He is interested in his secretary because of the power that he has over her, because she imagines his life as ‘full of friendly relationships, money, and a big and loving household ‘ and herself has a ‘peculiar feeling of want. ‘ “ He has gotten used to this disgraceful life manner because Miss Dent is non the first adult female to be seduced by him: “ Most of the many adult females he had known had been picked for their deficiency of self-pride. “ ( Cheever 319 ) It is non surprising that he commits adultery because he does non value his matrimony and does non care how it will impact his married woman.

Through Cheever ‘s usage of flashbacks, scenes from a character ‘s yesteryear that identify who the character used to be or some important background information about that character that explains why the character is soon, a reader can see who Blake truly is. He reveals Blake ‘s relationship with his married woman through Blake ‘s flashbacks. In this flashback, Blake is married to Louise Blake for perchance 8-10 old ages. Besides, the reader is introduced to Mrs. Compton, Louise ‘s neighbour and intimate, whom Louise Blake would travel to whenever she was troubled by her hubby ‘s quarrelling. Apparently, he has decided non to talk to her for two hebdomads because she did non repair him supper one dark. Although she calls and pleads for forgiveness, her cryings do non perforate his concrete bosom. Now that she is old, it seems as if the lone thing that attracted him was her physical beauty. He has lost the love she believes he might hold had for her at first. A stopping point, tearful, and broken bosom is non of import to Blake. Through flashbacks like the 1 merely mentioned, the reader observes that Blake has non changed because his married woman ‘s cryings are non the lone 1s he has caused.

A old flashback lets the reader know that after the one dark stand Blake had with Miss Dent, she “ was crying. He felt excessively contented and warm and sleepy to worry much about her cryings ” ( Cheever 319 ) . Despite Miss Dent ‘s weeping, likely because of the sense of treachery and no hereafter with her lover, Blake remains content. He besides has destroyed all possible friendly relationships with his neighbours and people, yet he is still satisfied.

Blake ‘s hardhearted attitude is portion of his non-changing, or inactive character.

In this narrative, Cheever uses situational sarcasm to demo that Blake ‘s actions have non gone unpunished. Situational sarcasm is when the expected result is different than the existent result. He does this in a cagey manner. In the narrative to hedge Miss Dent, Blake took the local train ‘The Five-Forty-Eight ‘ , where he is sitting in a auto entirely seeking to avoid ‘speculation or compunction ‘ of Miss Dent. While sitting, he sees a piece of xanthous visible radiation in the interruption of clouds that would usually mean freedom, a safe oasis, or safety. However, the narrative does non stop at that place. Someone calls him, and it is Miss Dent. The sarcasm is present in that he seems to hold successfully evaded his stalker but seemingly he has n’t and Cheever unveils merely how large of a trap he is in as she sits following to him. Ironically, his neighbours are in the same train auto, but they moderately pay no attending to him but he needs their aid. He is trapped with his ‘insane ‘ stalker that clearly wants to “ eliminate him from the universe — non to wipe out him physically, but to alter his psyche. Despite the manic nature of her accusal, she is rather accurate in her judgement, “ … if there are Satans in this universe, if there are people in this universe who represent immorality, is it our responsibility to kill off them? I know that you ever prey on weak people… ” He feels nil and she feels excessively much. “ ‘ ( Bloom ) Curiously, although checked by a gun, this usually formidable state of affairs does non unnerve him.

To assist him understand her injury, she tells him of her damaged life after him. She begins to state how ill she has been and that she has had no occupation since. Then she tells him that she should kill him and her lone penalty would to be readmitted into the mental infirmary. She makes him read a missive that she was excessively ‘sick ‘ to get off out to him while keeping the handgun to his belly. Soon the train arrives at Shady Hill, his halt. Ironically, the name Shady Hill implies void, and a topographic point that readers liken to a disregarded cemetery where nil alterations. This is the topographic point Blake comes from. Here they get off and Miss Dent forces him to the land and after disregarding her voice for the train on the 3rd shriek, “ Kneel down! ‘ He got on his articulatio genuss. ” ( Cheever 325 ) Now it would look that she has taught him a lesson.

Examination of the text before and after his collapse reveal why Blake got down on his articulatio genuss and did non get away Miss Dent in the first topographic point. Before they exit the train in lines 30-35, Miss Dent interrupts his flight, “ Do n’t seek and get away me. I have a handgun and I ‘ll hold to kill you and I do n’t desire to. All I want to make is speak with you. Do n’t travel or I ‘ll kill you. Do n’t, make n’t, make n’t! ” ( Cheever ) Then Blake ‘s organic structure linguistic communication shows he has entered survival manner. The lone manner to last at gun point is to make what the gun holder wants you to make and that is what he did. Then after they exit the train and he prostrates himself in lines 60-end, she says, “ if you do what I say, I wo n’t harm you ” Now, he knows he will non decease if he does as she says. Then he realizes her motor “ I truly do n’t desire to harm you, I want to assist you, but when I see your face is seems to me that I ca n’t assist you ” aˆ¦ “ if I called to demo you the right manner, you would n’t mind me ” aˆ¦ Put your face in the soil! “ ( Cheever ) She had to state it twice to do him make it. In between that he had clip to believe of what he had to make to do her believe that he was a changed adult male and that her mission was accomplished. He knew that what he did next would fulfill her “ He stretched out on the land, crying. ‘Now, I feel better, ‘ she said. ‘ “ When Miss Dent leaves, he fakes to acquire up “ warily at first, until he saw by her attitude, her looks, that she had forgotten him ; that she had completed what she had wanted to make, and that he was safe. He got to his pess and picked up his chapeau from the land where it had fallen and walked place. ” These actions show no compunction instead, this drama that he performed so good carry through its intent, self- saving.

In “ The Five-Forty-Eight ” Blake is introduced as a incapacitated victim of a still hunt by a crazed adult female. John Cheever uses informational flashbacks, situational sarcasm, and clever imagination to demo that actions have effects. Blake has tricked and seduced his secretary, Miss Dent, whom he had fired, into holding a one dark base with him, while he was married. This action along with many others shows that aching others is no job for him. The background information shows that he has grown a obstinate rock bosom and he is a inactive character. Harold puts it best in his drumhead “ But so the gun is taken off, he gets up, and sees that Miss Dent is “ little, common, and harmless. ” These words, coupled with his concluding act, and long life style of heartless selfishness and indurate maltreatment of others shows the reader that “ Blake rises from the land as the same adult male. ” ( Bloom )