Analysis Of The Poem ' The Swimmer ' By John Cheever Essay examples

Analysis Of The Poem ' The Swimmer ' By John Cheever Essay examples

Length: 1108 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The azure water in the pool is glimmering; the beautiful sunshine is casting a rainbow through the spray from the waterfall; the reflection on the chestnut skin of his well-build belly shows his health and wealth as a successful man.
This is how John Cheever put in the first paragraph of “The Swimmer”, with a gorgeous swimming pool surrounded by a lovely forest. In the story, John Cheever gives a large role on portraying iconic objects around Neddy Merrill to imply the society’s materialism. The story is based on Neddy’s epic whim: he intends to swim across the whole county to his house through different swimming pools. This idea may sound absurd, but Neddy appears as a heroic character who can conquer the impossible. During this trip, Neddy has met various people, and he gradually learns the miserable nature of his life. At the end, when Neddy finally arrives at the doorstep of his own house, he finds out the house is locked and empty. All his divine fantasies about his life are collapsed, leave him to be a poor, pathetic figure alone.
This is a strange but unique allegory because Cheever uses numerous metaphors in the story to unmask Neddy’s mendacious life. At the beginning of the story, Cheever describes Neddy as a healthy mid-age man who “seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth” (Cheever). Cheever first introduces his swimmer as a healthy man who looks younger than his age. Then, Cheever gives a childish name, Neddy, to a grown man to imply both this man’s psychological immaturity and physical vitality. In other words, Neddy’s visionary idea about swimming to home is not only a product of his childish mind, but also his strong desire to deny his failure. The difficulty of Neddy’s task reflects his concealed memori...

... middle of paper ...

... from a healthy, happy and wealthy man to a poor, lonely and pathetic one.
“The Swimmer” is a sad allegory. John Cheever uses subtle metaphors to criticize the pathetic people who live under the delusion that they can do anything, even when they have repeatedly been proved wrong. In the allegory, after Neddy has lost his properties, he also loses his relationships with his family and friends. He becomes a poor man who is mocked by everyone around him. Yet he still can’t wake up from his delusion of being successful and wealthy. However, Neddy is just a random example, and there are many other people who have the similar fates. Cheever writes this allegory to warn them that do not use delusions to escape from the reality. Although “The Swimmer” is a strange, loony allegory, the message it carries gives a straight, clean glimpse into the American society around 1960s.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Monotony of Life in The Swimmer, by John Cheever Essay

- 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 the pools on the path back home. Before this however, the main character, Neddy, complains about the days where everyone just moans that they drank too much last night....   [tags: The Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
639 words (1.8 pages)

Alcoholism in The Swimmer, by John Cheever Essay examples

- “The Swimmer” by John Cheever is a short story about Neddy Merrill and his journey through alcoholism. Alcoholism plays a detrimental role in Neddy Merrill’s life because it has been ruined due to his dependence on this awful substance. The author symbolically presents the stages of alcoholism, its effects on the alcoholic, as well as how the alcoholic’s family and friends change towards Neddy. The pools that Neddy swims through, as well as the people and situations that Neddy encounters represent the different stages of his drinking....   [tags: the swimmer, john cheever, alcoholism]

Strong Essays
1140 words (3.3 pages)

Psychoanalytical Criticism of The Swimmer by John Cheever Essay

- 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 iron content, was a pale shade of green. They are at their affluent suburban friends Mr....   [tags: the swimmer, john cheever]

Strong Essays
1435 words (4.1 pages)

Essay about The Swimmer By John Cheever

- When you think about life and death, are you excited to live or are you scared to die. For many people all over the world, this becomes an intense thought and concern when they’ve reached a certain age. Suddenly, their life starts to flash before their eyes but slowly, as if taunting them that their youth has been lived and death is approaching. Or so it seems. There have been many studies to determine whether or not the “midlife crisis” is fact or fiction and I believe that The Swimmer by John Cheever reflects this myth in a thought-provoking and self-assessing way....   [tags: Short story, John Cheever, Swimming pool]

Strong Essays
1207 words (3.4 pages)

Allusion in The Swimmer, by John Cheever Essay

- 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 noticed that this has occurred. This alone makes it unlike many other works; however, the Swimmer is argued to have alluded to other classic works....   [tags: The Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
916 words (2.6 pages)

The Swimmer, by John Cheever Essay

- Thomas Hardy, an English novelist and poet, once observed, "Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change." In "The Swimmer", the world around Ned Merrill, the main character, transforms constantly as time goes by, causing Ned's physical, mental, and social state to decline. However, although Ned Merrill experiences the inevitable - growing older - he does not fully grasp reality and the idea that time moves on, even if one is not ready. "The Swimmer" is a short story written by John Cheever, a writer who used his own experiences as inspiration for his stories - "Cheever's problems with his parents, brother, wife, alcoholism, and bisexuality have alr...   [tags: The Swimmer Essays, Literary Aalysis]

Strong Essays
1507 words (4.3 pages)

John Cheever's Personal Connection to The Swimmer Essay example

- 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....   [tags: The Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
1489 words (4.3 pages)

Reader Reaction to John Cheever's The Swimmer Essay

- Reader Reaction to John Cheever's The Swimmer One of the main ideas that is conveyed in John Cheever's The Swimmer is the way in which life consists of different mental stages and how they each affect the consciousness of the mind. In The Swimmer, Neddy goes through different swimming pools and this represents the different journeys in his life. He progresses from boundless optimism to endless despair as the seasons go by. The times when Neddy is in or out of the water also represents the emotions he is going through and perhaps can correlate to the emotions felt throughout the duration of ones life....   [tags: Cheever Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
1040 words (3 pages)

John Cheever's The Swimmer Essay

- The setting of “The Swimmer” is in the suburbs, describing the aquatic adventure of Neddy, an energetic and cheerful father and husband. After attending a cocktail party, he decided that he would swim his entire way home through various swimming pools. Through his adventures, the protagonist makes a great discovery that his marriage life is a great lie. The journey from the cocktail party to his home converts him from a vibrant man to an old impoverished man whose life is in a major crisis. As he arrives at his house, he finds his children and wife have abandoned him....   [tags: Midlife Crisis, The Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
760 words (2.2 pages)

Essay on Journey Through Suburban Life in John Cheever's The Swimmer

- Journey Through Suburban Life in John Cheever's The Swimmer "The Swimmer," by John Cheever, illustrates one man's journey from a typical suburban life to loneliness and isolation. This short story is characteristic of John Cheever's typical characterizations of suburbia, with all it's finery and entrapments. Cheever has been noted for his "skill as a realist depicter of suburban manners and morals" (Norton, p. 1861). Yet this story presents a deeper look into Neddy Merril's downfall from the contentment of a summer's day to the realization of darker times....   [tags: Cheever Swimmer Essays]

Strong Essays
1527 words (4.4 pages)