Swimmer By John Cheever Essay

In the short story ?The Swimmer?, John Cheever uses symbolism quite often.

It is used to reveal the theme and show imagery. We will reflect on this short
story and analyze the symbolism Cheever is most notable for. The story takes
place in a very wealthy neighborhood where almost everyone has a pool. Not your
average above ground pool, but enormous in-ground pools, some fed by streams.

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One hot summer day a man named Neddy Merrill was swimming at the Westerhazy’s
pool, ?Neddy Merrill sat by the green water, one hand in it, one around a
glass of gin? (369) He is described as a slender man, a man of youth even
though he is not young. ?He might be described as a summers day?? (369)
Cheever compares Needy to a summer’s day to show Needy as a warm, sporty
person, without a care in the world. Neddy decides he is going to try and swim
to his house 8 miles away in Bullet Park. He feels the ?string of swimming
pools? (369) can take him home.? Making his way home by this uncommon route
gave him the feeling that he was a pilgrim, an explorer, a man with a destiny?
(370) In no way is he any of these things, but he thinks that to make himself
feel more interesting. On his was home he knew he would see many friends and
didn’t want to be slowed down by conversation so he would have to be slick and
slip away whenever he got tied up. It seems as though everyone was having
friends over, he was offered many drinks. He swam half way home and he already
had 4 or 5. ? He felt tired, clean, and pleased at the moment to be alone,
pleased with everything.?(370) Along his journey he noticed some strange
things going on, the Lindley’s riding ring was overgrown with grass, and the
Welchers have moved away. Neddy fails to remember them ever leaving. ?Was his
memory failing him or had he so disciplined it in the repression of unpleasant
facts that he damaged the sense of the truth.? (372) Further down along the
trip he notices more and more things out of the ordinary, thing he doesn’t
remember. Mrs. Hakbran said, ?we’ve been terribly sorry about all your
misfortunes? (374) She spoke of him selling the house and his troubled
children. He did not understand,?was he losing his memory or was his gift for
concealing painful facts let him forget he had sold the house or that his
children are in trouble?? (374) After running into his old mistress and a
very rude Grace Biswanger, Neddy finally returned home. He noticed all the
lights were out. The garage was locked and the door handle was rusty. He banged
on the door but there was no answer, he looked in the window and the place was
empty. He should have seen it coming but he obviously didn’t catch on . It
seems as though that he had hid the unpleasant realities of life from his mind
that he had forgotten the last few years of his life.


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