White-Middle Class Suburbia

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J.S DaSilva
Fall 2012
American Literature
White Middle-Class Suburban Life

White middle-class suburban life and marriage becomes a central subject for several contemporary writers like John Updike an John Cheever because that is what was the central idea when their stories were written. John Updike jumps to the point of the story by giving his story the title “Seperating” and Cheever makes it a little difficult to figure out what the reading is about from the title of his story “The Swimmer.” In fact, Updikes whole story is very obvious from the beginning and it took longer to understand Cheever’s story. What these two stories have in common is that the main characters of both stories are trying to ignore the truth. Ned in “The Swimmer” seems to believe that his life is exactly how it has always been, when in reality, his relationship with his wife has gone down the drain. He was married and had children and that all came to a halt. Although we are not told exactly why his wife and he are separated, it is very obvious in the end that is most likely because of his side lover Shirley Adams. Cheever makes it obvious that Ned is ignoring the truth when he goes to swim in the Holloran’s pool. “We’ve been terribly sorry to hear about all your misfortunes, Neddy.” “My misfortunes?” Ned asked. “I don’t know what you mean.” “Why we heard that you sold the house and that your poor children…” “I don’t recall having sold the house,” Ned said, “and the girls are at home.” “Yes,” Mrs.Holloran sighed.

This dialogue demonstrates perfectly how Ned refuses to believe the truth. The more he swims in his neighbors pools, the more he starts to realize what his life has become. When he reaches the freeway he realizes that there is no turning back and that he must continue on with his journey and to get home. The changing of the seasons also demonstrates his transition from believing his life was fine to seeing that there is...
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