Control In Crews's Body And Cheever's Five Forty Eight

914 words - 4 pages

Control in Crews's Body and Cheever's Five-Forty-Eight  

Harry Crews's Body and John Cheever's "Five-Forty-Eight" offer characters whose lives lack control. Although Crews's Bateman is a perfecting, attractive, and popular body builder, his life does not satisfy him. However, from the outside Bateman appears happy and content. On the other hand, Cheever's Ms. Dent is skinny, shy, emotional, and disheveld. Her description reflects the unsteadiness and the insecurity in her life. Although Bateman's personality contrast with Ms. Dent's, they have a similar need for control. Bateman and Ms. Dent search for control in the form of love objects. Bateman finds Earline Turnipseed an ...view middle of the document...

Her writing directly reflects the incontinuity and lack of control in her life. Unlike Bateman who feigns control over his life through body building and bulimia, she escapes from the lack of control in her life through depression.

Escaping from or searching for control Bateman and Ms. Dent turn to other characters, respectively Earline and Blake. Bill Bateman uses food to punish himself, but Earline sees food as freedom. In turn, Bateman identifies freedom in Earline's fat rolls. Buried within, Bateman's "deepest fondest wish...is to be drowning in a lapping sea of fat just as Earline"(101). Bateman compares Earline to a sea because she has no restraints and no boundaries, in terms of food. Bateman wants Earline to release him from the restraints and expectations placed on him. Unlike Bateman, Bs. Dent chooses Blake because he represents control. She imagines Blake's life to be "full of friendships, money, and a large and loving family"(81). Because she thinks Blake has control, Ms. Dent projects her ideas of a perfect life onto him. With his affection she hopes to gain control over her life and find the happiness she imagines he has.

Bill Bateman and Ms. Dent escape from or find the control as needed in their lives, even though only one of the love objects reciprocates. In the end, Earline needs Bateman's love as much as he needs her freedom. Because they satisfy a mutual need, the relationship is balanced and successful. Once used as punishment to gain control, his body becomes the key to freedom as he "takes [Earline] up in his arms, simply scoops her up with one of his massive arms"(107)....

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