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In "The Enormous Radio," how does Mrs. Wescott change during the course of...

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ttt | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 28, 2008 at 3:29 AM via web

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In "The Enormous Radio," how does Mrs. Wescott change during the course of the story and why does she change?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 28, 2008 at 5:52 AM (Answer #1)

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During the course of the story, once the new radio enters the apartment, Mrs. Wescott becomes paranoid and apprehensive regarding the radio.  As the story progresses, she begins to become intrigued by the radio's ability to eavesdrop on her neighbors.  She starts to look forward to listening to her neighbors secrets, although she does worry that it might be a two way radio, and her neighbors might be able to hear her and Jim talking in their apartment.

This passage from the story suggests that Mrs. Wescott becomes addicted to listening to her neighbors in secret.  She can't help herself, like being unable to drive past an accident scene without looking. 

"The next number on the dial produced the worn record of the “Missouri Waltz.”  Irene shifted the control and invaded the privacy of several breakfast tables." (Cheever) 

 "She overheard demonstrations of indigestion, carnal love, abysmal vanity, faith, and despair.  Irene’s life was nearly as simple and sheltered as it appeared to be, and the forthright and sometimes brutal language that came from the loudspeaker that morning astonished and troubles her." (Cheever)  

"She continued to listen until her maid came in.  The she turned off the radio quickly, since this insight, she realized, was a furtive one." (Cheever)

Mrs. Wescott knows what she is doing is sneaky and inappropriate, she does not want the maid to catch her listening to the radio.

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