Strikingly different from his previous work, Falconer both surprised and startled readers when it first appeared in 1977. Set in Falconer Prison, the novel represented a radical departure from the standardized Cheever territory of urban and suburban terrain.
According to Cheever, the novel's chosen subjects are defined as "incarceration, homosexuality, and addiction."
Consequently, drawing heavily on his teaching experience at Sing Sing prison in the early 1970s, Cheever creates in Falconer a realistic portrayal of prison existence, using the setting as a literary metaphor for the concept of confinement as an abstract state of mind.
The novel revolves around the central character of Ezekiel Farragut, a forty-eight-year-old college professor convicted of murdering his brother.
Although Cheever had on several previous occasions explored the complex and often strained relationships between brothers, this was the first incident of fratricide in his fiction. Several themes interact within the novel including the violence and...
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The Falconer Study Pack contains about 6 pages of study material in 7 products, including:
Falconer Short Guide
John Cheever Biographies (5)
1,068 words, approx. 4 pages
John Cheever (1912-1982) was an American writer known for his keen, often critical, view of the American middle class. Known primarily for his short stories, his attention to detail and careful writin...
7,963 words, approx. 27 pages
Although some critics have dismissed Cheever as a writer of the "New Yorker school," a chronicler of suburbia, or a clever satirist, his impressive achievements in both the short story and the novel b...
9,669 words, approx. 33 pages
To outward appearances John Cheever was very much a child of the American twentieth century. Born just before World War I, he lived through the halcyon Jazz Age, suffered through the Depression, and...
10,311 words, approx. 35 pages
Few American writers have been so clear in mapping their recurrent subject matter and themes as John Cheever. From his first published story, "Expelled," he has been concerned with the Fall from a co...
8,324 words, approx. 28 pages
Biography EssayAlthough some critics have dismissed Cheever as a writer of the "New Yorker school," a chronicler of suburbia, or a clever satirist, his impressive achievements in both the short story...
Essays & Analysis (1)
873 words, approx. 3 pages
Critical Essay by Lynne Waldeland
The publication of Falconer, with its shockingly new milieu and its unusually violent language, is only the most dramatic proof that Cheever is not afraid to push off...