Literary Techniques in “The Swimmer”
John Cheever’s use of literary techniques emphasizes his themes of alcoholism and American suburbia in “The Swimmer.” Alcoholism is prevalent in John Cheever’s “The Swimmer.” The American middle-class and suburbia are also prevalent in “The Swimmer.” When read for the first time, “The Swimmer” is just about an alcoholic going for a swim, yet if viewed from a deeper perspective it is a “powerful evocation of the loss of a sense of purpose among America's privileged class in particular and among twentieth-century man in general” (Barnhisel). Throughout the story alcohol is a reoccurring motif. “The drinking, serving, and desire for alcohol become significant motivators for Neddy as well as a way to measure his social standing,” (Spark Notes). At the beginning of the story, everyone is complaining about having drunk too much. Neddy drinks gin before deciding to go swimming from pool to pool. At the first parties, he gets drinks. Later, he wishes for a drink and gets denied once at the Sachses’ and once at Shirley Adams’s. As the story progresses and he gets weaker, he longs for a drink. At the end of the story, Neddy comes home to find his home empty. This raises questions, “Where is his wife Lucinda, is she late or gone?” “Did he really sell his house and not remember?” “What happened to his daughters?” The reader does not get these questions answered. This could have a deeper meaning. Neddy could be drunk and dreamed all this, or Lucinda could have left (as evident from Neddy having a mistress, they may have had problems) and he may be returning to his memories. The theme of the emptiness of suburbia is prevalent in “The Swimmer.” As Neddy makes his journey, the despair and emptiness of suburbia that lies under the prefect, sunny façade of suburbia is revealed (Spark Notes). Neddy seems to have a full, happy life but everywhere he goes people mention his habit of rejecting invitations. He forgets...
...In The Swimmer by John Cheever, the main character Neddy Merrill is introduced at a social gathering at a friend's house with his wife while their children are at home. The story is set in suburbia which, during the time period, was a new emergence in American society and had become a symbol of status. Along with suburbia comes the idea of uniformity so naturally, everyone in the neighborhood had a pool, pools that Ned used as his way to reach home â€œby waterâ€ (American Literature, 2410). Throughout the story as Ned travels from pool to pool, more and more is revealed about him by his neighbors, things that Ned had seemingly forgotten or chosen to ignore. Upon first observation, it would appear that Ned's drinking had clouded his memory of certain things that had taken place recently like â€œWhen had he last heard from the Welchersâ€ (American Literature, 2412). However, as the story progresses it is made clear that Ned has the tendency to conceal painful facts, keeping them repressed as a defense mechanism to deal with the real misery of his life. Because of that tendency of Ned's, one of the most prominent themes in The Swimmer is one must face reality eventually. This is exemplified within the story when Ned finds himself at his mistress' house and at the very end when he himself finally makes it home. This theme goes well with the usual John Cheever subject matter like â€œmanners and morals of middle-class, suburban America, and the...
...Dante’s Inferno and The Swimmer
Dante’s ever popular, poem, “ The Inferno,” and John Cheever’s “ The Swimmer” is both set upon the theme, reflecting on ones life. Cheever highly accepts the profundity of Dante’s pious allegory (1). In the swimmer, the protagonist Neddy Merrils, swims throughout his well-heeled neighborhood, which is credited the intense journey of Dante. The Swimmer, a story about a man’s eight-mile journey home, is a book that explores how a man reflects upon life. Many of the themes used in The Swimmer have been influenced by themes from Dante’s Inferno of The Divine Comedy. Both books explore how two men deal with the knowledge that they know that they have done something wrong and the physical as well as the mental journey both take to reach their destination.
In The Swimmer, the protagonist Neddy chooses to go home by swimming through a chain of pools that lead to his destination. In Dante’s Inferno, Dante is lost in the woods, and is found by Virgil, who was sent by his former lover Beatrix to lead him home, however, Dante must journey through hell in order to reach his destination. The similarity in their journeys is the unique paths that both take to reach their destination. Another parallel that one might take not of is how Dante walks through eight levels of hell and of how Neddy walks eight miles home.
Neddy chooses to swim through the chain of pools to...
John Cheever's short story “The Swimmer” was probably the most confusing story we have read in our class. When I read it the first time, the whole idea of “pool hopping” had stuck me as very odd. It also had a sort of sad mood throughout the whole story, and it was kind of a mystery because the neighbors were saying all these things about Neddy, but he had no idea what they were talking about. It was actually fun to read, and I liked the story, the theme and the whole concept of it. It's funny how we called the river the Denial river, since Neddy was in such denial about everything. I really had no idea he was actually psychologically in denial so bad that he doesn't even remember what happens to his family and his house.
It starts of with Neddy having this crazy idea that since there are so many swimming pools between his current location and his own home, that he can literally swim home. He's swims through a few of the pools until he reaches the Bunkers' pool. I then began to sense that something is definitely wrong. There is a party in full swing, to which Neddy has apparently been invited, but his wife has called in his regrets, telling them he could not come. This shows how snobbish Neddy and his wife are, because throughout the story they had denied quite a few invitations. A sudden storm breaks through and Neddy takes cover in the Levys' gazebo. When the rain passes, he observes that "the force of the wind had stripped a...
...Department of English and American Studies
Palacký University in Olomouc
English philology – Archaeology
̒The Swimmer ̓: The Symbolism of the Seasonal Change
KAA/AJC1 Freshmen composition
9th December 2012
This essay will focus on John Cheever ̓s short story ̒ The Swimmer ̓ (1964), specifically on its symbolism of the seasonal change. The following paragraphs aim towards showing that the seasonal change which frames the whole story symbolizes the protagonist ̓s life journey that deteriorates in proportion to the season.
The opening paragraph introduces ̒one of those midsummer Sundays ̓ (Cheever 776) in which the story is set. It precedes the storm which is coming and framing the whole story by describing the ̒massive stand of cumulus cloud ̓ (776) on the west. The changing seasons symbolise the time because it expresses the protagonist ̓s personal change during the time. At the beginning of the story the protagonist is ̒compared to a summer ̓s day ̓ (776), he is a man in a great physical condition with a youthful and fresh appearance. As the story progresses, the weather deteriorates and also the protagonist ̓s qualities change and his imperfections and failures are more and more visible. In the first half of the story everything is bright and flowering, so as Neddy ̓s world and mood. People are friendly, he has a lovely wife and four daughters and he is happy. This summer weather...
Not everyone enjoys being afraid, but there are a lot of us who really enjoy the experience. Fear is an emotional response, which triggers a change in the brain and organ function, as well as in behaviour. Fear may occur when facing danger such as a threat or a confrontation. Fear can lead us to flee, hide, or fight. Nevertheless, sometimes fear can also be what drives us to cross our own boundary and do what we long to do.
The short story “TheSwimmer” by S.J Butler deals with a woman whose fear for being watched by others, keeps her from doing what she really wants. Her sudden desire for fear draws her closer and ends up making her do something even more fearsome, which luckily turns out to help her being set free. The story has an all-knowing third person narrative technique with focus on the protagonist and the setting around her. The short story starts by using the first five sentences to present the weather. “Three weeks of windless sun”. This establishes the overall setting for the reader. The setting is basically described as being a hot summer day, which has lasted for three weeks, with no cooling wind, and the suns heat burning on the ground. The cooling and moving water is in contrast to the clouds and the wind. ”Nothing moves except the water”.
There is a longer introduction to the water but it continuous from a different perspective. This leads to an introduction of both the water but also the main character. “She...
Analyze and interpret
The short story called 乃he Swimmeris written by S.J. Butler in 2011. It is about the main character, who has no name, and her development in a river. She always wanted to go take a dip in the river, but she had never done it. One day she decides that it is the day for her, to do it one time for all. She goes to the river and she takes her clothes off and goes in. She meets a swan and faces the stream of the river and not but least, she faces her fear.
That fact that you do not know anything about the main-character makes it much easier to relate to that person. You have not been able to judge the person, because you do not have anything to base it on. The only thing your know about her, is that she is a girl, and that she has a job.
In the very beginning in the story, you are told the main characters surroundings. It is beautiful and calm and very described. As a reader you are put directly into the main characters actions. 典he alders at the river's edge stand motionless in the midsummer heat. In the fields, the twisted cattle beans are black . She sits at her desk in the back room gazing out at the river1
The short story is written in a very descriptive way. The writer has used a whole lot of adjectives to make the surroundings seem very real and alive. It also makes the pace stay very calm and slow. That makes us as the reader feel much more into the story, because it is much easier to follow the main...
“The Swimmer” is an allegorical story of Neddy Merrill, the protagonist, and his journey home from the cocktail party that was eight miles away from his home through private and public swimming pools on Sunday afternoon that depicts his journey through life. The author presents the protagonist both directly and indirectly and tells the story in third person point of view that leads him to reveals the protagonist’s thoughts. “Neddy names his journey Lucinda River after his wife to invoke the security and longevity of his marriage and family, but his choice of names becomes ironic after the denouement”(Nydam).
Neddy’s desire to drink and the loss of memory are his internal conflicts. Despite a terrible hangover from the cocktail party that everyone there was talking about, on his journey home Neddy is still asking for a drink at every pool that he stops by even when they treat him with hostility. The more he wishes something he used to get easily, the more he is turned down. Neddy is humiliated at the Biswangers’ party where Grace calls him a gate crasher and the bartender serves him a drink rudely. “At the Sachs, he cannot recall that they do not keep drinks at their house since Eric’s operation. This loss of memory of his also appears when Mrs. Halloran, Helen Sachs’s mother, is telling him that they have been terribly sorry for their misfortunes and he does not recall that his house is sold either”(Cheever 520)....
“The Swimmer” is a short story written by S.J. Butler in 2011. The story is about a woman working in the midsummer heat, who actually just wants to swim in the river all day. But it’s just not that simple to jump into the river and swim, she first has to find the courage and then she has overcome the dangers of the river. At least if she wants to escape the regular life she lives and replace it with a life in the river.
The woman sits in her working room, where she has a nice view of the river. As she sits and works the river draws her. She wants to swim, but she’s afraid of the reactions from the fishermen and the other people by the river.
She is aware that it’s not that normal wanting to swim in the river, shown in this quote “Why hasn’t she swum before? People have swim in rivers for generations. It’s a normal, natural act (page 1, line 19)”. She tries to justify her lust to swimming in the river. If she thought it was a normal thing, she wouldn’t have to state the point out so elaborately to herself. Also her thoughts of other people seeing her swimming, shows how she knows it’s not normal. “No one’s out there. If she goes now, she’ll have the river to herself. No one will see (page 1, line 16)”. She’s very aware of other people’s thoughts, which is the only thing holding her back.
The warm midsummer day, where nobody is by the river, is the day she overcomes her fear. She walks slowly down to the river, and into the...