The story “The Wrysons” of John Cheever is built around two central characters; a married couple Donald Wrsyon and Irene Wrysons. The minor and silent character is their daughter Dolly. The story is described through narration of the author. The narrator is not a part of the story; characters are isolated from the writer; they have their own lives and in the story, and they demonstrate their individual personalities. The genre of the story may be characterized as drama. Both Wrysons are flat characters with incessant obsession for finding people who would ruin their rose garden and devalue their real estate. This obsession contributed civic activities to Wrysons related to upzoning of the neighborhood, which were more than a natural desire to preserve the nature of the community.
According to the author, both Wrysons were odd and not attractive people. Donald’s oddness was developed in his childhood, which was his mother’s contribution. Donald found the escape from agony, depression and fear, in the kitchen, through baking a cake. Irene was haunted with the end of the world, in her dream, by a hydrogen bomb. The author used the couple’s oddness as the basis of the plot. The story structure uses exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and denouncement parts of the plot. The story consists of 15 paragraphs. The paragraphs 1 and 2 may be attributed to exposition, 3 and 4 to rising action, 9 to climax, 10 to falling action, and 15 to denouncement.
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The author used physical, time, foreground and background settings. The activities of the story took place in a charming village close to a river. The story’s background produces comprehensive description of Donald’s childhood; how and why he developed a passion for baking Lady Baltimore cake. His mother contributed this passion to Donald. The critical statement “Think about poor sailors at sea” made by his mother while baking a cake during a stormy night, perhaps laid the foundation for fear in Donald’s character. Again, it was his mother who showed that the only recipe for escaping from fear was baking Lady Baltimore cake. This is what Donald did onward when he felt troubled. The foreground of the setting contributed author’s vision related to Donald’s death by accident from his obsession, and subsequent death of Irene that led their young girl Dolly wander from one place to another.
The theme of the story is loneliness and sufferings of the central characters. The story describes Donald Wrysons’ loneliness and suffering that he incurred in his childhood from his mother attitude towards him. His mother after the divorce considered her life as Calvary, could not forget her abandonment, and leaned heavily for support of her son. The author used playful, formal, and sometime sarcastic tone. Sarcastic tone towards the central characters is expressed in the 9th paragraph, where the author concluded that if Donald and Irene were dispatched, no one except Dolly would miss them. As a matter of fact, author used this sarcastic tone to describe the climax part of the story through fictional death of two main characters.
The story “Wrysons” describes personal problems of middle class people, which could not be seen under the serenity of American suburb. Donald realized his problem and many times resisted temptations to bake a cake while he felt troubled. Nevertheless, he was unable to get rid of it. David did not want his wife to know about this trouble. The denouncement element of the plot describes, even though David failed to understand why Irene thought about hydrogen bomb, and Irene failed to understand why David tried to bake a cake, but they both understood that life was mystified, and they became more concerned than ever in a good appearance.