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Suicide Persephone Myth In John Cheever's The Swimmer

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Analytical Essay of Cheever’s “The Swimmer” Nathan Cervo’s analysis of John Cheever’s “The Swimmer” suggests that the main character in this short story, Neddy Merrill, is an earthbound ghost. Cervo justifies this claim by stating that Cheever indicates this through two main paradigms. The first paradigm, Cervo says is “that of the Pluto-Persephone myth, which reveals that Merrill’s “home” is Hades.” Cervo claims that the second paradigm is the “suicide paradigm.” I disagree with Cervo’s interpretation of “The Swimmer” Cervo begins his interpretation with a sort of unwavering certainty that his idea of this story is the only correct one. Readers may see this, as he begins by stating that critics of this story “have failed to perceive that Neddy Merrill, the man who decides to “swim home” by way of his neighbors’ pools, is dead, and earthbound ghost” (Cervo 1). In making this claim, Cervo denies that possibility of any other interpretations. This sort of confidence could raise the question as to whether or not Cervo…show more content…
This may lead readers to mistrust the connections he makes, as they do not appear coherent. Cervo relates the “hall” in their name, and the “hel” of their daughter's name, with the “hullo, hullo” Neddy calls out to them (Cheever 2367). He swiftly moves to saying, “in short, he has entered the pagan Underworld” (Cervo 1). This is yet another example of the lack of explanation for connections that Cervo…show more content…
"Cheever's The Swimmer." Explicator 50.1 (1991): 49. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 30, Jul. 2016. Cheever, John. “The Swimmer.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature. Gen. ed. Nina Baym. Shorter 8th ed. New York: Norton, 2013. 2363-2370.
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