The works of Cheever: Autobiographical or Fictitious?

Essay by EJAC09High School, 11th gradeA+, August 2007

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In the midst of the nineteen hundreds, author John Cheever revolutionized literature by writing about topics that no other author dared to write about. His best selling novel, Falconer, tells the story of a professor, driven to the verge of insanity through the use of drugs and ever increasing despair. The professor murders his brother, and slowly a web of secrets is revealed about the teacher; including his bisexual desires, worsening depression, and hate for all institutions of marriage. In other works of Cheever, similar themes are displayed, including through protagonists in The Sorrows of Gin and The Wapshot Chronicle. These novels are not purely fictitious, however. John Cheever, author of The Wapshot Chronicle and Falconer, developed the characters in his works based on his own personal experiences throughout his life. By doing so Cheever is able to write about controversial issues of the time.

John Cheever was heavily criticized for the copious amounts of bisexual or homosexual characters he includes in his novels- a theme that was not expressed often in literature during the mid-nineteen hundreds.

Cheever uses the characters in his novels to express his own feelings and views concerning homosexuality and bisexuality. What many people of the time did not realize, was that Cheever himself was bisexual, and became infatuated with both members of the male and female gender as his life continued.

The first signs of any attraction of Cheever's to another man appeared in high school. He had a close friend, named Fax Ogden, who transferred to a school out of state. Cheever was devastated, and the signs of his devastation worried his parents. His confusion about his own sexuality traumatized Cheever in his teen years, and; "The difficulty was, of course, that he shared his parents' revulsion against homosexuality. He had...