The Wapshot Chronicle Essay, Research Paper
The Wapshot Chronicle
The Wapshot Chronicle written by John Cheever is a book based on the lives of the Wapshot family, who live in a town in the New England district. The Story involved many characters and told many things about the family s past. However, the format Cheever takes is both boring and confusing. In this book the suspense was eliminated by the predictability of the outcome of a problem in the story. Many times before had the end of a chapter been ruined by the accurate foretelling of the character resolving a problem in a fashion where all who are involved benefit, rather than some win and some fail miserably. Cheever also makes things complicated by incorporating his unique style through out the book. While reading the novel, questions piled upon each other after each chapter that didn t continue with the same character, as was the previous chapter, sometimes the chapters would not relate to each other at all increasing the confusion. The use of this style brought the book down and caused a problem in reading what could have been a great book.
Cheever has been criticized for being too predictable and somewhat girlish. When problems are resolved fairly without any complications to any character, a story can become boring fast. In the chapters that did relate to each other the resolution came without shocking twists or suitable irony, but with a happy ending. One account was with Mrs. Wapshot and her day on the town. She had just recently purchased two fresh lobsters from Mr. Hiram. She had more things to do but did not want to hold the bag of lobsters, so Mrs. Wapshot placed the bag on the bus and told the bus driver, I ll be back in a few minutes. When she was done with her errands, Mrs. Wapshot boarded the bus but was surprised to find a different bus driver. She asked the man where her lobsters were. To my surprise the lobsters were actually delivered to Mrs. Wapshot s house. In today s world people are not so generous and understanding as the bus driver was. The story was too happy and had no villain to mess things up. This is an example of Cheever s girlish qualities and boring nature.
Adding to the list of bad things about Cheever s novel, the reoccurring boring factor kicked in midway through each chapter. Besides the erotic or anything close to erotic scenes, the book was touched with the boring virus. No hostility occurred between any characters when there should have been, and some characters were not knocked out when the situation called for it. Bring you before the scene with the lobsters, Mrs. Wapshot had just been awaken by the 7:18. She walks down stairs smelling lamb chops and building a good appetite, but to her dismay she finds her chief cooking perch instead of the anticipated lamb chops. Filled with rage, Mrs. Wapshot threw the lid of the pot at Maggie, her cook. After this scene Maggie would have been expected to quit or at least throw something back. But, Maggie starts up another pan and prepares some bacon and eggs. Mrs. Wapshot s temper or attitude towards the people around her should rule out the possibility of her having friends, but the town seems to be fond of her. The boring aspect top it is that no retaliation of any kind is brought up to fight the old lady s aging temper.
The other half of the trouble causing style is the way the story is laid out. An enjoyable story has to be understandable in addition to a great plot. When characters are not fully introduced and scenes are not completed, the book s popularity suffers a depression of recognition. In chapters one through eight the story skipped around from character to character. In chapter one in started by telling the back ground of the Wapshots through a family tree sort of deal. The chapter was vague like my support paragraphs; it was not developed enough (joke). Then into the second paragraph the story shifts to an ancestor of the Wapshots and spoke of the journals he wrote. In them he told of the first Topaz and its captain becoming lost at sea. Then once again the scene shifts, this time to the parade that the two Wapshot boys were watching. This time the parade was the center of attention along with Mrs. Wapshot and the float she was on. After this the story goes to the time before the parade, the beginning of chapter four started with Rosalie Young, right off the bat I was confused. This chapter told of her erotic experience, which was not as boring as the rest of the book. The picture in my head was of different characters that barely related to each other or to the book as a whole. After that the rest of the chapters followed the same trend until chapter eight, where three chapters were devoted to one person or one account. Every now and then the chapters would become jumbled as in the beginning creating more confusion and adding to the disliking of the book.
The Wapshot Chronicle was a disappointment next to the books we read earlier excluding The Scarlet Letter; any book is better than that so-called piece of literature. But, this novel came close to the margin of total disappointment and mostly disappointing. If the style was different the book would have been decent, but the confusion and predictability gave way to a bad book. I hope we don not read anything like this next year.