Though John Cheever's Falconer might seem like the furthest thing from escapist fiction, it may, in fact, provide a means of escape for those who feel engulfed in a world of injustice, unfairness and cruelty. Falconer is about a college professor named Ezekiel Farragut who is imprisoned in Falconer Prison for murdering his brother. The novel chronicles the major events and defining moments of his time in Falconer, culminating with his eventual escape and return to freedom. Falconer, published in 1975, can be interpreted as a reaction to the hopelessness and helplessness that gripped the hearts of many Americans during that troubled time. Though Farragut is routinely mistreated, unjustly harassed and subjected to all kinds of humiliations, he learns, while enduring all of these things, to seek joy and peace in the small, seemingly unimportant moments that make up one's daily life. Cheever, through his portrayal of Farragut's eventual awakening to this fact, seems to be encouraging the American people, or anyone who feels crushed by the miseries of daily life, to look for meaning in basic human compassion, the beauty of nature, and in the memories of good times past and reminders of good times to come.
Drent, Adam, "Memories, Moments and Miracles as a Source of Hope in John Cheever's Falconer" (2005). English Seminar Capstone Research Papers. 11.
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