The Swimmer

Topics: John Cheever, 175, Happiness Pages: 3 (886 words) Published: March 26, 2013
The Swimmer
“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). Neddy has external conflicts that are alcoholism, the affair with Shirley Adams, his old mistress, his social standing, and his wife and daughters for they left him. His social standing develops in him the art of denial of invitations from the people that he considers below him, the Biswangers for instance. According to Cummings, the climax occurs when Neddy finds himself standing on the shoulder of Route 424 amid litter while...

Cited: Cheever, John. “The Swimmer.” Perrine’s Literature Structure, Sound and Sense.10 Ed. Helen
Triller and Cheryl Forman. Wadsworth. Lyn uhl. 2006-327.Print.
Cummings, Michael. “The Swimmer Study Guide.” Cummingsstudyguides.2011.Web. 31
Nydam, Rebekah. “Drowing in the Suburbs.” hubpages. n.d. Web.30 jan. 2013
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Swimmer.” SparkNotes LLC. 2007.
Web. 27 Jan. 2013.
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