This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Losing Time In Life: The Swimmer By John Cheever

1579 words - 6 pages

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, once declared “Lost time is never found again.” This quote ties to the meaning of how people frequently let time seep through their hands. John Cheever’s "The Swimmer" portrays this through the eyes of suburban man Neddy. Neddy is the average ‘Joe’ of most suburban households. Life in suburbia is repetitive in most scenarios, and humans can easily get lost in the monotonous adventure known aslife. Time leaks away from his figure, and he is not sure of he is the one changing too fast, or the world around him. "His main themes include the duality of human nature: sometimes dramatized as the disparity between a character's decorous social persona and inner corruption" (Kozikowski) supports this cause.
Since Neddy decides that he is bored of his repetitive life, he decides to repetitively swim across all the way back to his home. Each pool represents a period of time, most likely a couple of months. Unfortunately, Neddy is trapped inside his routine and does not realize of the changes around him. For that everything he sees in his suburbs are the same, just middle class houses that all look alike. The story does an excellent job in showing how unaware Neddy is in his own decline. In John Cheever's "The Swimmer," Cheever uses diction and symbolism to express the theme of repetitive human life that decays daily.
Throughout the story, John Cheever uses the the literary device of symbolism to illustrate the theme of a cyclic human experience that erodes away every day. Throughout the story "The Swimmer," Cheever uses this device to represent a plethora of symbols. For example, the main and initial symbol perceived in the reader's mind are the aqua swimming pools. While wasting the day drinking at his neighbor's house, he has an epiphany to swim through all the pools on the path back home. For that every pool the stereotypical suburban scrub swims through, he goes through a period of time and monotony. These pools are all the same, and when he comes out the other side of one, he is not even aware of what has just passed. Analyzers of this short story have rendered, “He has been swimming in the Westerhazys' pool. And what does one swim in a pool but repetitious laps? Even the stroke he uses is repetitious” (Blythe & Sweet). This is backed up by Cheever's writing: "He swam a choppy crawl, breathing either with every stroke or every fourth stroke and counting somewhere in the back of his mind the one-two one-two of a flutter kick" (Cheever). Cheever’s intentions along with Blythe and Sweet in these quotes are that nothing is new, everything is the same. For that many can relate to this idea, and for that everyone is a swimmer in their own way. Swimming unvaried strokes in similar pools of lost time and repetition.
The evident nature manifests the passage of time. The eroding mountains and melting glaciers demonstrate to humans the natural beauty in change. Change can occur as quickly as in the...

Find Another Essay On Losing Time in Life: The Swimmer by John Cheever

The Swimmer, by John Cheever Essay

1934 words - 8 pages reading just a few pages, the reader will wonder why Ned Merrill has suddenly decided to swim through pools to reach his house. Reading further in depth, the reader begins to realize that the swimming pools are just figurative and rather, Ned Merrill is “swimming” or traveling through stages off his life. John Cheever develops the theme of the passage of time in his short story, “The Swimmer”, through the use of symbolism, characterization, and

The Swimmer, by John Cheever: Time Waits For No Man

817 words - 4 pages Allison Murray Ms. Patrick English 9 11/21/2013 In “The Swimmer” by John Cheever, Neddy’s view of reality is drastically different from his neighbors. Neddy thinks that the entire story takes place in the time of an afternoon, when in reality many months have passed. Even though Neddy is stuck in the past, his neighbors and the rest of society move on, and at first it causes slightly awkward sympathy, but later he finds himself completely alone

The Swimmer, by John Cheever: Time Waits For No Man

1572 words - 7 pages his status brings. This culture is one of drinking and one where time seems to stand still, regardless of where a person is, be it by the poolside or whilst traveling. Cheever’s The Swimmer is a deceptively easy read but has an overriding theme that can at first be missed if the reader only notices the weather and alcohol. What is the theme of the Swimmer? In the Second paragraph Neddy is first mentioned. The narrator describes Neddy as having

Surrealism vs. Realism in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

691 words - 3 pages John Cheever uniquely crafted the story “The Swimmer” by using a mix of surrealism and realism throughout the story. Most people when they read “The Swimmer” they have to reevaluate it to comprehend what is happening. The reason for that is because Cheever shifts between surrealism and realism so much that the reader does not even notice. The story starts out with Neddy being so strong and youthful, but as the story goes on he weakens and ages

Allusion and Symbolism in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

744 words - 3 pages John Cheever does not merely state the theme of his story, he expresses his theme, as a good writer should, in a variety of metaphors and analogies coupled with powerful imagery. In The Swimmer, Cheever writes and underscores his primary theme of alcoholism in many ways, such as his use of autumnal imagery and the color green. However, there is also some very prominent symbolism and allusions that serve to highlight the theme while also

Denial and Alcoholism Exposed in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

1106 words - 5 pages The Swimmer by John Cheever begins at Helen and Donald Westerhazy’s pool when Neddy Merrill makes the decision to journey eight miles home by swimming through a series of pools, he calls the “Lucinda River” (297) and walking when unable to swim. While he making his way back home, he stops at fourteen old friends’ houses and drinks before continuing on if possible. By the end of Neddy’s journey, he is exhausted and comes to the realization that

Denial and Alcoholism Exposed in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

944 words - 4 pages The Swimmer, a short story by John Cheever, tells the tale of Neddy Merrill and his decision to “swim” all the way home. It is an odd sort of an idea, and he fancies himself an adventurer exploring a new river. The river is really made of swimming pools that stretch across town, which collectively he believes will lead him home. Along his journey however, startling occurrences take place, leading to the conclusion that Neddy’s water-filled

The Lost Generation in The Swimmer, by John Cheever and Winter Dreams, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

662 words - 3 pages “The Swimmer” by John Cheever and “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald have many elements in common. These stories are about two wealthy men interacting with other wealthy people. As the stories progress Neddy and Dexter search for the truth and the meaning of life. These two literary works fall under the literary movement called The Lost Generation. Finally, at the end of the narratives they are both grieving for themselves and realize that

Psychoanalytical Criticism of The Swimmer by John Cheever

1854 words - 7 pages In the short story The Swimmer by John Cheever, one of the dominant themes is the passage of time. In this short story time seems to pass as reality does with us unaware of its passing. The main character is the protagonist hero, Neddy Merrill who embarks on a traditional theme of a homeward journey. The scene opens on a warm mid-summer day at an ongoing pool party with Neddy and his wife Lucinda. The pool is “fed by an artesian well with a high

Exploring the Midlife Crisis of Upper-Class Americans in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

2060 words - 9 pages his life. The story “The swimmer” represents the life of wealthy suburbs during the 1960’s and John Cheever illustrates their lifestyle, their view towards societal standing, and their view towards life. Alcohol consumption is one of the most problems of the American society. Alcoholism is not only affecting the adults, but also the younger generations. Alcohol is generally affecting the body and the mind of a person that leads into deterioration

Use of Point of View, Setting and Symbolism in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

1159 words - 5 pages “The Swimmer,” a short fiction by John Cheever, presents a theme to the reader about the unavoidable changes of life. The story focuses on the round character by the name of Neddy Merrill who is in extreme denial about the reality of his life. He has lost his youth, wealth, and family yet only at the end of the story does he develop the most by experiencing a glimpse of realization on all that he has indeed lost. In the short story “The

Similar Essays

The Passage Of Time And Life In The Swimmer, By John Cheever

2771 words - 12 pages Having written a multitude of short stories and novels, author, John Cheever, has showcased his incredible writing abilities multiple times throughout his career. Even as a child, Cheever outwardly expressed his desire to write. As proven by his longstanding career, Cheever’s thirst for writing remained with him throughout his entire life. In perhaps his most famous piece of work, “The Swimmer,” Cheever’s impeccable writing ability is showcased

The Monotony Of Life In The Swimmer, By John Cheever

812 words - 4 pages Throughout the story, John Cheever uses the the literary device of symbolism to illustrate the theme of a cyclic human experience that erodes away every day. Throughout the story "The Swimmer," Cheever uses this device to represent a plethora of symbols. For example, the main and initial symbol perceived in everyones minds are the aqua swimming pools. While wasting the day drinking at his neighbors house, he has an epiphany to swim through all

Bourgeois Suburban Life Exposed In The Swimmer, By John Cheever

810 words - 4 pages John Cheever: Drowning in the Suburbs—“The Swimmer” “The Swimmer”, written by John Cheever, is a story about the life of a middle-aged man living in a bourgeois American suburbia. I chose to write on “The Swimmer” based on its universal themes of the American Dream and life and hardship in suburbia. The story is very true to the lives of many Americans living the American Dream today. Keeping up with the Jones’ is part of this dream and

Allusion In The Swimmer, By John Cheever

1155 words - 5 pages John Cheever’s The Swimmer is a piece that is very unique, and unlike many works, it is running on two different time scales. One time scale is running on the readers time scale, as he is journeying from pool to pool. The second time scale can be interpreted as over the course of many years, as his life passes him by and he realizes by the end that he has lost his house and his family, yet due to his suburban upper class living, he has not even