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

1171 Words5 Pages
The Swimmer begins with a party at the Westerhazy’s house. All the guests there are of high social standing, judging by the fact that tennis courts, sail bags, and alcohol are mentioned repeatedly. The phrase, “I drank too much” comes up repeatedly and the guests mention this phrase repeatedly. One of these guest is Neddy Merrill. By the context of the story, the reader determines that Neddy is well off and enjoys being part of the culture that 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, “the slenderness of youth”. Yet later in also explains, “He [Neddy] was far from young he had slid down his banister that irning and given the bronze backside of Aphrodite on the hall table a smack”. At this point it is well known that although Neddy is no longer young, he still views himself as young. He believes that he can waste away his days by the poolside drinking gin and tonic and will never grow older. Sadly he is mistaken and has been substituting reality with his own different one. Soon Ned has an idea, he will swim home, jumping from swimming pool to swimming pool across the county, taking minor “portages” along the way. The portages become crossings of roads and various yards of people Neddy thinks he knows well. Just before Neddy leaves on his trip he likens himself to a legendary figure. For Ned this means that he views himself as imm... ... middle of paper ... ... the beginning of the story. Time has passed around Ned and he still refuses to believe that time can affect him. Time passes and there is no way that Ned can stop time. When Ned arrives home he is confronted by an empty home. Ned in all of his bliss and ignorance has not noticed the passing of time. Time has finally caught up to Ned and his world has finally crashed around in him. What was a summer day has now turned from fall to what seems to be the beginning of winter. This is the same for Ned, he once had a summery, joyful life, throughout his quest his life slowly crumbled into what could be equated to as fall, and now at his home he is entering the winter of his life, nothing will be easy and reality has found him. Works Cited Cheever, John. "The Swimmer." The Northon Anthology American Literature. 8th ed. Vol. E. New York: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.

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

Open Document