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In "Miniver Cheevy" by Edwin Robinson, what does the character long for?

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swielgos | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 18, 2010 at 10:23 AM via web

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In "Miniver Cheevy" by Edwin Robinson, what does the character long for?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 18, 2010 at 11:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Miniver Cheevy longs for "the days of old...when swords were bright and steeds were prancing." He "sighs for what (is) not," dreaming of a past that he sees completely unrealistically. Miniver Cheevy is enamored by a history which he romanticizes; in particular, he loves the ancient Greeks, and the medieval times of King Arthur, "Thebes and Camelot." He dislikes the world in which he lives, in which soldiers wear drab "khaki suit(s)" instead of "the mediaeval grace of iron clothing," and he also dislikes working, choosing to "(rest) from his labors", dreaming of times and conditions that in reality were nothing like what he would like to think they were.

Miniver Cheevy is so convinced that the past he dreams of was so much better than the present that he spends his days drinking and doing nothing constructive. The disconnect between his aspirations and reality is starkly evidenced in the fact that he "scorn(s) the gold he (seeks)...but sore annoyed (is) he without it." Miniver Cheevy is a self-centered, useless man who thinks he deserves better than what he has; he dreams that things would have been so different if he had lived in a more exciting, romantic time, but in reality, the deficiency is within himself. He "curse(s) the commonplace" and "mourn(s) the ripe reknown," but had he been born in any other time, he would have suffered the same malaise because he is unable and unwilling to see things the way they are, nor is he receptive to appreciating the natural beauties of life, "the seasons," that are right there before him.

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