The five-forty-eight

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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In the short story, "The Five-Forty-Eight" written by John Cheever, we are introduced to two characters that have had a brief personal relationship with each other and to the consequences that follow for one of them. Mr. Blake happens to be the fellow that is being put on trial and is judged accordingly. His persona is defoliated until the truth rings out like a blow horn. The beast within him begs for a swift end.

As the story unfolds, we are made aware of the fact that a strange woman is following Mr. Blake. At this point the author has given us little about the man and his personality. With this in mind, the reader is positioned to take a defensive approach to Blake. He is the victim. Why is this woman following him? What does she want with him? He is scared for his life. It is amazing to think that she can harm him in such a way that he would regret it for the rest of his life.

Not until later do we discover that he took advantage of this woman and her defenselessness. Or so he thought.

It is apparent by now that she wasn't the only one that he took advantage of. The following sentence suggests that there were many others before her. "Most of the many women he had known had been picked for their lack of self-esteem." It is clear that "picked" has a double meaning in this place. To fill a secretary's position was a mere masquerade, compared to the real reason of quenching his personal desires and victories. Because of his overconfidence, he underestimated Miss Dent. How could someone so young and frail do anything to harm a man like him? Now we begin to see a dark...