The Swimmer

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Inevitable Passage of Time

Within John Cheerver’s, The Swimmer we can learn a lot about life choices and priorities. Cheerver demonstrates the effect of social standing in the novel through the eyes of the main character Needy. Needy has let his social standing overpower him, which eventually leads him to a life without social activity. Cheerver effectively communicates his message to the reader by combining a wide variety of symbolism and excitement. Throughout the novel the author uses a plethora of examples to display his message and even incorporates his views within the theme of the novel.

A respectable theme in The Swimmer is the inevitable passage of time. This theme is clearly established through the protagonist of the novel, Needy. In the beginning of the story the author provides the reader with a clear background of Needy’s life. The information about Needy’s life is crucial to the story because it helps the reader understand and connect with the character. Needy believes that he does not have to keep in touch with his friends because the life he leads. With his high social standing, Needy believes that he is inferior to others. Life continues to pass by as Needy lives his life on the outskirts. It isn’t until it’s too late that Needy becomes aware of his surroundings and realizes he has wasted much of his life. The damage he has caused in life cannot be undone due to his lack of care and concern for others. Not only is Needy’s social life irreplaceable at the end of the novel, but he has become dependent on alcohol. It appears that Needy has grown to become his own worst enemy in life.

On the contrary, Cheerver helps develop his theme of the novel through the use of symbolism. Within, The Swimmer, symbolism is frequently used as a technique to tie together the story. For example, the author portrays symbolism within the text through the multiple swimming pools Needy encounters. Each swimming pool Needy comes across represents a different...
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