The Five-Forty-Eight

Introduction

The Five-Forty-Eight is a 1954 short story by John Cheever originally published in The New Yorker and collected in The Stories of John Cheever. The story is about a businessman called Blake, who is accosted on a train at gunpoint by his former secretary, named Miss Dent. The woman is mentally ill, and is particularly upset with how Blake left her after a one-night stand and then fired her. The story is noteworthy because its focus is primarily on Blake’s perception of those around him, from which stems an anti-social history. Though the woman’s mental state is somewhat deteriorated, Cheever communicates that her perception of reality is more advanced than Blake’s.


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