Character analysis of falconer

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

Downloaded 922 times

In the novel Falconer, by John Cheever, the main character, Farragut, is motivated by the wish to escape from an unpleasant world. In the "Overview" of John Cheever, it says, "Cheever's world commonly portrays individuals in conflict with their communities and often with themselves." In this novel, Farragut is sent to Falconer prison for murdering his brother, and has to deal with the confinement and withdrawal of his drug addictions. In addition, Cheever expresses emotional tension arising from the gap between the peaceful environment, individual passion, and discontent ("Overview" N. Pag.). Farragut, also, has to deal with his loneliness from the outside world. He tries to solve this problem by engaging in a homosexual relationship. Even though Cheever does not judge his characters, he treats them with understanding and compassion. Cheever's characters are uncertain in their desires, so the stories themselves are unclear, presenting no clear resolution ("Overview" N.

Pag.). Finally, at the end, Farragut miraculously escapes from prison, and the unpleasant world he was living in.

Farragut's actions tend to add emotional tension to the novel. The novel reminds us that man has always had to face new and inhospitable environments, and that change, with its accompanying reactions of surprise and shock, can be stimulating as well as disturbing (Bracher N. Pag.). Farragut did not mean to kill his brother. His brother's death was an accident, and he is now being sentenced for it. As a result, Farragut was taken from the world he knew, where he had a wife, a child, and a house to live in. Now, he is living his life in cellblock F in Falconer prison, isolated from the world he once knew. He tries to keep himself busy, so he will not have to think about where he is. Man pays a price and often a terrible one, Cheever feels, if he tries to deny his backgrounds and become something different, or if he is cut off from these sources of his identity (Burhans, Jr., N. Pag.). Farragut denies his brothers death, thus, sentenced to prison with no hope of living again in a pleasant world.

Farragut's coping with confinement brings new stress to his life. Farragut tries to move through experience, instead of resting in it (Bracher N. Pag.). For example, Farragut overcame his drug addiction without even noticing he had quit. No matter how absorbing the present, it is flowing toward an unpredictable future, and carrying the individual to a new stage of growth, to new possibilities of experience (Bracher N. Pag.). For instance, Farragut found himself engaged in a homosexual relationship without even dreaming of something so disgusting. Frederick Bracher remarks, "Love and pain, passion and sorrow, are intense but transitory"(N. Pag.). At first, Farragut seemed to love his partner, even though he felt pain inside himself for his actions. Later, after his partner escaped and left him, Farragut felt passion for his beloved partner, and sorrow at the fact that he would never see him again. Bracher also remarks, "Nothing finally endures, but the pattern of movement and change"(N. Pag.). This is why, all at the same time, Farragut is trying to better his life, and open the way to his new world, a world of freedom and pureness where he can escape from the horrible past he has lived in.

Farragut seems emotionally ill by his brother's death. Cheever is thoroughly aware that man cannot return to, or repeat the past, however tempting an escape it may seem (Burhans, Jr., N. Pag.). For example, Farragut tries to forget about his past, and hopes to move on to a better environment. To Cheever, man is the complicated product of his past, and he is convinced that the identity and the values man lives by are rooted with him in that past (N. Pag.). As if, Farragut will always have been the one that killed his brother, and it will never change. No matter what he tries to do to make up for it, the memory will always be with him. If man cannot return to or repeat the past, neither can he with exemption of punishment move very far beyond a consistent relationship to it (N. Pag.). If Farragut does not accept that he is the one who killed his brother, then he will never be able to forgive himself for his actions, and escape from the world he has put himself through.

John Cheever, in the novel Falconer, shows how Farragut is motivated by the wish to escape from an unpleasant world. Working at the heart of Cheever's work is a profound insight into the contemporary human condition; a potentially tragic view of man which seems both electrifyingly relevant and accurate (Burhans, Jr., N. Pag.). Examples have been given looking into the life of Farragut at Falconer prison. As Cheever unspeakingly defines him, man is a biological creature who survives, like all organic life, by adapting to his environment (Burhans, Jr. N. Pag.). For example, Farragut survives through prison by adapting to his surroundings because he knows he has to. Man is also a cultural creature, a unique being who can change his environment (Burhans, Jr. N. Pag.). Farragut, also, tries to change his cell to better fit his comfort and give him more pleasure. For if man changes his environment faster than he is capable of adapting to it, he is inevitably self-doomed. For example, as soon as Farragut escaped out of the front gate of the prison, he tried to walk slowly and not stumble from his excitement. Also, he had to change his appearance, so as, to not give himself away. If he would not have changed his environment, he could have most likely been spotted as an escaped convict and returned to an unpleasant world in the prison.