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The Country Husband by John Cheevers

            For a student attending high school today, peer pressure is a battle which is faced daily. Students are encouraged by their parents to focus on their academics, so that they will be better prepared to face the rigorous demands of college. On the other hand, students receive pressure from their peers at school to conform to the latest trend. The use of illegal drugs, the decision of whether to drink alcohol on Friday night, and even the choice of what designer brand of clothes to wear are all situations in which a high school student has to make a decision. A constant question which has to be evaluated in their mind is, "Will I conform to the desires of my peers?" The pressure to conform to the morals and ideas of others has been a common problem for many decades. John Cheever's short story, "The Country Husband," presents a story in which the protagonist, Francis Weed, must make a decision about conformity. The story is an example of interpretive fiction, because it challenges the reader to think about the situations in his life where he is being forced to conform to society. .
             In interpretive fiction works, the development of the characters in the story is often the main focus. Francis, a World War II veteran, has experienced many horrific situations in war, and he subsequently has difficulty returning home to the perfect little town of Shady Hill. The story continuously references war and battle, or it illustrates the idea with a metaphor or allusion. Conformity seems to be the best option for veterans when they return after war, but it is difficult for them due to the impact that war has had on their emotions. Francis is not able to express himself to anyone in his society. This is first seen in his inability to talk with a passenger on the train after the plane crash. He found himself at a loss for words, and stated that he "had no powers that would let him re-create a brush with death-particularly in the atmosphere of a commuting train, journeying through a sunny countryside.

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