Cheever's 'The Swimmer'

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“The Swimmer” Given the moniker “the silent generation,” Cheever and his fellow writers were anything but silent on their views of suburban living. Born of the lost generation, the silent generation was tasked with illuminating the hypocrisy and despondency of suburban life. Cheever was unique in his portrayal of “middleness,” as he painted suburbia with fantastical and surreal oddities. Cheever’s, “The Swimmer,” is one example of how his stories go past the real and into the mythical in his distinctive suburban surrealist writing style. “The Swimmer” is a cynical story of a once affluent man, who has seemingly lost everything, including his mind. The main character, Neddy, is used to portray the fake and flawed suburban ideologies, as well…show more content…
The private pools are clement and beneficent, with beautiful sapphire water. In contrast with the public pools that are murky to the point where Neddy might, “contaminate himself- damage his own prosperousness and charm” (214). The pools along the “Lucinda River” are “bonny and lush... [where] prosperous men and women gathered... while caterer’s men in white coats passed them cold gin” (211). Whereas the public pool is loud, harsh and shrill with crowds and lifeguards abusing swimmers through the public address system (214). Another class distinction Neddy describes is between different members of the suburbs. The Biswanger’s are not quite at the same stature that Neddy and his family once were. They were new money in an old money world, they committed faux pas by, “discussing the price of things at cocktails, exchang[ing] market tips during dinner, and ... [telling] dirty stories to mixed company” (215).The most humor aspect of the hypocrites of “The Swimmer” is that Neddy flatly states that the Biswanger’s were “unwilling to comprehend the rigid and undemocratic realities of their society” (215). The humor however is dark when the reader understands that Neddy refuses to realize that he no longer belongs to that “set” (215) either. It is not until the barkeep “served him rudely” that Neddy realizes that “he had suffered some loss of social esteem” (216). He was so use to pretending with the rest of the suburbanites that it took a man outside of his social class to set Neddy’s mind

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