The Swimmer John Cheever Essay

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Ease, luxury and tranquility—American upper class suburbia’s are generally described as having such characteristics. Typically, when one enters into a suburb, there is a comforting or disturbing—depending on which way one looks at the uniformity—sense of homogeneity. More specifically, not only do the houses look the same, but generally the residents act, dress, and speaker similarly. Is life better in the suburbs? John Cheever’s short story, “The Swimmer”, set in such an area, begins with the narrator inferring, through protagonist, Neddy Merrill’s actions, that life in upper middle class and upper class suburbs is indeed better; however, as he makes his eight-mile homeward swimming journey—through his friend’s pools—, he begins to see a darker…show more content…
Specifically, in the opening scene, the third person, authorial narrator introduces the reader to the pleasant characters, Donald, Helen Westerhazy and Lucinda Merrill who are all discussing how they “all drank too much” the previous evening (726). Before the reader even meets Neddy, the narrator has set the reader up with characters whose rhetoric symbolizes a life and society of leisure, which Neddy is seemingly apart of. The reader almost immediately develops a sense that most afternoons at the Westerhazy’s pool are spent in such a timeless, relaxed manner. In addition the narrator describes Neddy as being “far from young”, but Neddy’s following actions, “slid[ing] down his banister that morning” and diving head first into the pool, shows the reader that he is filled with youthful cheer and vigor (726). Consequently, when his desires and decides to swim “eight miles south” so he could “reach his home by water” is presented to the reader, at a first glance, his decision seems to be a lighthearted result of his energetic, impulsive personality mixes with the alcohol from the cocktail party (726). However, as the story progresses, the reader realizes that during Neddy’s journey home, time is quickly elapsing without him recognizing; consequently, causing Neddy to loss touch with

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