Themes Themes and Colors Key LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Enormous Radio, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work. Jim and Irene are introduced as an ideal couple, but their picturesque lifestyle is a cleverly cultivated deception. This passage takes care to establish just how unremarkable this couple is, but it will eventually become clear that both Irene and Jim actively construct their earnest, average, and carefree appearance. Additionally, they hide the one personality quirk that sets them apart from their social circle.
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Jim and Irene have been happily married for nine years and are parents to two young children. They live in an apartment building at Sutton place, and are lovers of classical music, often attending concerts and more importantly, listening to the radio. One day, their old radio stops working and Jim promises to buy a new one. The next day the new radio arrives. What is more it has many dials and it lights up when it is plugged in.
Nevertheless, she finds a place for it and starts listening. The appearance of the new radio turns out not to be the only annoyance. As Irene sits down to listen to a concert one night, she notices that there are various sounds interfering with the music. At first Irene is horrified because she thinks that her neighbors can hear her too, so she asks Jim for the radio to be either taken away or fixed.
However, she soon becomes intrigued and finds herself invading the privacy of her neighbors more and more often. What is more, she starts comparing her domestic life to those of her neighbors, which consequently brings in doubts about her relationship with Jim.
Eventually, Jim orders the radio to be repaired. The repair is successful, but it costs much more than Jim thought it would. As a result, he gets into a fight with Irene, as he bought the radio to bring her pleasure, but it instead it became the source of their marital discontent.
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The Enormous Radio Essay
Using this radio, it was possible to listen in on police conversations. Rather, it is a wholly ideological construct relating to the interpretation, as well as the use, of the domestic space. Domesticity emerged as a concept in the mid-eighteenth century, alongside the modernizing forces of the Industrial Revolution and the Enlightenment. As cottage industry gave way to larger-scale factory production, the nature of the home itself changed. For many, there was a separation of home from commercial premises and many women were removed from the world of remunerative employment altogether. Meanwhile, traditional family relationships underwent radical change.
The Enormous Radio
Plot[ edit ] Jim and Irene Westcott live contentedly on the 12th floor in an apartment building with their two children near Sutton Place their city of residence is not mentioned, but Sutton Place is in New York City. They both love to listen to music, regularly attending concerts and spending time listening to music on their radio. When their radio breaks down, Jim orders a new one, but when it arrives Irene is shocked at its complete and utter ugliness. It is a large gumwood cabinet with numerous dials and switches that light up with a green light when it is plugged in. Until the new radio arrived, the Westcotts hardly ever argued and seemed to have a happy marriage. As Irene listens to music on the radio one evening, she hears interference in the form of a rustling noise over the music.
The Enormous Radio Summary
Set in an apartment building in s New York the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed, omniscient narrator and has a suspenseful mood. Cheever succeeding in drawing the reader further into the story, right to the end, till it reaches a climax. It is also noticeable that Cheever is using symbolism in the story, the radio itself. There is also a sense of irony in the story. The radio was bought by Jim to bring happiness into the family home, instead it brings, conflict internal , doubt and obsession. Cheever explores the theme of privacy several times in the story.