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America a nation distinguished by its prosperity and success is filled with homes whose facades reflect these characteristics--houses composed of nicely trimmed lawns the family Volkswagen parked on the driveway friendly neighbors similar to every other family and the happy 25 children playing in the backyard However behind the walls of many of these homes reside anything but successful families These typical nuclear families may be able to imitate normal families but how far can they undergo their agony until the truth is exposed Many families try to conceal any problems that may arise throughout a marriage John Cheever author of The Country Husband introduces the reader to a couple from Shady Hill Francis and Julia Weed who has a conventional marriage lacking love Their marriage only serves the purpose of satisfying an image as a conventional family but it does not fulfill their inner wishes or desires The town Shady Hill itself does not promote people to chase their dreams if it does not fit the appropriate public standards and rules In a critique by Lynne Waldeland she describes Shady Hill as A suburb of New York City which while not as severe as Hesters Salem is nonetheless inhospitable to the full range of human needs and desires It is a tranquil and orderly place and most human emotions find only sublimated outlets p 54 In Shady Hill Francis does not pursue his dreams because of the fear of being a pariah As Waldeland says Shady Hill will not long tolerate a being who undermines its order with passion and independence and vitality p 54 Franciss marriage definitely reflects the normal family that is accepted in Shady Hill but it does not reflect the unhappiness within the household Like any other typical family Francis is the breadwinner and Julia is the housewife as well as the neighborhood social bug While the marriage may seem like a happy relationship no
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