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How is Francis viewed in the story "The Country Husband" by John Cheever?

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henryeagle195 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:13 AM via web

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How is Francis viewed in the story "The Country Husband" by John Cheever?

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etude1903 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 15, 2012 at 1:40 AM (Answer #1)

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"Country Husband" by John Cheever certainly has comic overtones. especially when Francis is thinking to himself that he was "meant to bet the father of thousands." Francis is certainly a comic figure, and ordinary person who is engulfed by a longing for youth, for a life without constraint, for a more heroic time which is revealed through the elevated language. Francis is at least romantic. The plane crash is exactly the beginning of his crisis and it is that type of incredible event which sets Francis on his longing for a "better" life.

It seems that a group of random events throws Francis off his stride in the displeasure of his dissatisfied life: the plane crash, the woman who was punished in France, his sudden attraction to Anne Murchinson, and his glimpse of the "Venus" on a passing train. These area all events which could play in a contemporary comedy on television. Francis begins to feel less and less comfortable in his life in the present. And when Francis seeks the help of a psychiatrist, is that an easy out for Francis, or is it deep soul searching for an answer? When Francis ends up in the basement of Shady hill doing woodworking for therapy, it appears as if a classic comedy has come full circle with Francis at least trying to work out his confused feelings without a clear definitive strategy for future engagement in the present. Perhaps Francis is giving up or at least eh has tried. Certainly it can be interpreted in various ways.

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