A Comparison between Two Novels

7 July 2016

The Central theme in “Reunion” (1962) by John Cheever and “Compass and Flashlight” (1992) by Elizabeth Barnes is the idea that society creates such high standard for parents that when one as expectation, they are often deceived. In “Reunion”, Charlie meets his dad full of expectation and ideas of what a good dad is, and how just by looking at him he wants to be like his father “I knew that when I was grown I would be something like him; I would have to plan my campaigns within his limitation.”(29) But then later in the story he gets to know his dad, and more and more he is deceived, and realises that he does not know his father, everything he was imagining where ideas created by society of what a father should be, act like and look like.

In “ Compass and Flashlight”, the boy goes on a camping trip with his father that he has not seen in a long time, like in “Reunion”, and the boy can’t understand why at the beginning his mom his judging him, and telling all sort of mean things about his father. But towards the end, when he is talking, and the father is half-listening, we can see why the mom talked about him like that. The boy was not seeing his father like a man or a person, but rather he had the image that society created of a father in is mind, which created expectation that he could not meet. Both stories show how difficult it is sometimes to fit in the standards that society impose on us, and how nobody is perfect.

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