Character Comparison: “The Swimmer” and “Babylon Revisited” Essay

Character Comparison: “The Swimmer” and “Babylon Revisited” Essay

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John Cheever and F. Scott Fitzgerald are both 20th century writers whose story’s thematically reflected the despair and the emptiness of life. In both story’s “The Swimmer” and “Babylon Revisited” the main characters undergo similar problems, although they are presented differently in each story. The subject matter of both stories, pertain to the ultimate downfall of a man. “The Swimmer”, conveys the story of a man who swims his way into reality. He at first is very ignorant to his situation; however with the passing of time he becomes cognizant to the idea that he has lost everything. In “Babylon Revisited” the key character is a “recovering alcoholic”, who return to his homeland in hope to get his daughter back. However, problems from his past reemerge and deter his attempt to reunite. Ultimately, both stories share rather inconsolable endings with no direct resolution to their troubles.
Foremost, both stories are about men who once were very prosperous, but created their own demise. In “The Swimmer”, Neddy, the main character, initially seems to have a perfect life. “His life was not confining and the delight he took in this observation could not be explained...” (Cheever 216) He had a perfect family, high social status and very few problems in his life, or so he thought. His life is so wonderful that anything objectionable is repressed. Not until he takes the “journey” into realization, where he learns through others that his life has fallen apart. Neddy’s character is very similar to Charlie from “Babylon Revisited”. Charlie was very splendid in fortune until, he lost both his wife and his daughter due to his uncontrollable alcoholism. However, after “controlling” his drinking problem, he decides that he wants nothing to d...


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...ies of personal disasters. Neddy and Charlie caused their own failure because of the choices they made. Both characters shared similar lifestyles and problems but were presented differently in each story. Also conclude to no definite solution to their problems, leaving a sense of ambiguity. This gives the story’s a humanly feeling, causing the reader to feel companionate towards the characters. Both characters endured through a sequence of misfortune to convey a similar message; the present depends on your past actions.




Works Cited

Cheever, John. “The Swimmer”. Short Fiction: Classic and Contemporary. 6th ed. Ed. Charles Bohner and Lyman Grant. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “Babylon Revisited”. Short Fiction: Classic and Contemporary. 6th ed. Ed. Charles Bohner and Lyman Grant. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2006.

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