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John Cheever's Personal Connection To The Swimmer

1892 words - 8 pages

Why do people read literature? The definition of literature is a writing of some sort in which expression and form are characteristics or features of the writing. It can come in the form of poetry, novels, biographies, or essays. There are a couple of main reasons people usually read literature. People usually read for an escape from life, to learn something new, to confront human experience, or simply for pleasure. One of the more popular of those four is to confront human experience. They use what the author writes down and apply it to their daily life. Authors sometimes do that too. They write down their own experiences to give the audience pleasure, or to realize that they shouldn’t make ...view middle of the document...

After he left school, he went to go live with his brother, Frederick, in Boston for a while. Cheever gives his brother credit for getting him to start writing. He commenced into writing synopses for MGM. He would also write short stories for multiple magazines. On October 1, 1930 Cheever’s first work titled “Expelled” was published in The New Republic. The story is based on his prior experience with Thayer Academy (“World” 3). This story set the tone for Cheever writing about his own life.
After becoming well-known and publishing more stories, Cheever moved to New York City. With the help of many people, he settled in and made a deal with The New Yorker that would forever change his life. They helped him with his short stories and then they’d publish them, accounting for 119 of Cheever’s stories that were published in that magazine (“World” 4).
On March 22, 1941, Cheever married Mary Winternitz. They ended up having three children. Shortly after that, he enlisted in the army to help fight World War II. When he was back, he got a fellowship that helped Cheever become a full-time writer.
Writing books became a main goal for Cheever. He didn’t write any novels at first, but had many of his short stories in each book. His first two books, The Way Some People Live and The Enormous Radio and Other Stories, were very popular. One of his other books, The Stories of John Cheever, won the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the only collections of short stories to ever be on The New York Times bestseller list (“John Cheevers” 5). Cheevers then began to write novels that were thought to be autobiographical stories. They were extremely successful as well.
No one truly understood the real John Cheever until after his passing in 1982. He had written journals his whole life, and had them published in 1990. In those journals, he wrote about his problems with alcoholism, his depression, his bisexuality, his family, and his writing. He wrote that his stories were always about ordinary lives of the middle class people, with no sugar coated language of what happens (“World 3).
After reading his journals and then going back and re-reading his stories, it became clear he had put himself in the characters. They were all adults, full of darkness, corruption, and confusion. They were all conflicted in their lives, going from happiness in the beginning to depression in the end (Cooke 39).
Although John Cheever was not understood well, he had a knack for telling the brutal honesty of suburbia life in America. Perhaps that is his lasting legacy.
Literary Analysis
In a story, an author has the difficult task of telling a whole tale with compelling emotion and a meaningful message. Many wonder how an author gets all of their ideas. One way an author can get their ideas is through their own life. That is called parallelism. John Cheever is, again, the master of this technique. Living in the suburbs, he always told a story of an adult with a...

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