In John Cheever’s story, "The Five-Forty-Eight", the protagonist Blake is a prosperous businessman. The reader quickly understands that Blake is less the hero and more the villain in the story.
Blake uses people and then sits back and watches those people implode. In his world, Blake functions with impunity as he feeds off the people in his life who are weak. His wife, Mr. Compton, and Miss Dent---all have suffered from his indifference and mistreatment. His stalker [Miss Dent] has been trying to communicate with him for several weeks. When Blake sees her, his reaction makes the reader aware there is going to be a confrontation:
[Blake] turned and walked toward the glass doors at the end of the lobby, feeling that faint guilt and bewilderment we experience when we by-pass some old friend or classmate who seems threadbare, or sick, or miserable in some other way.
(The entire section contains 475 words.)