Literary Analysis of The Swimmer Thesis: Cheever uses symbolism, imagery, and tone to convey the theme of narcissism and suburban emptiness during the 1960’s. Symbolism Pools Storms Seasons End of youth Decline Imagery Setting Characters Tone Conclusion: Cheever’s use of literary devices drives the plot of the delusion of suburban emptiness. Literary Analysis of The Swimmer The Swimmer by John Cheever was published in 1964. The short story show the reader the emptiness many experienced during the mid-century white flight. The Swimmer gives a view into the life of Ned Merrill, an affluent suburban man’s life. Cheever uses symbolism, imagery, and tone to convey the theme of narcissism and suburban emptiness during the 1960’s. In The Swimmer, Cheever uses symbolism as a tool to portray the theme of the short story. One symbol the author uses throughout the story is pools. The description of each pool shows the reader how Ned Merrill changes as a character. At the beginning of the story, the pools represent Merrill’s youthfulness and energy. “The first pools Ned …show more content…
At the beginning of the story, the tone is light hearted and relaxed. When Neddy decides to start his quest home, he names it Lucinda River after his wife. “Lucinda stands for "light" and what was supposed to be a bright, sunny, and warm journey leaves him in darkness, storms (both outside and in his mind), and a painful end” ("The Swimmer" by John Cheever: Summary and Analysis). Halfway through the story, the tone begins to turn dark and sad. Before, Neddy felt like a heroic like figure, but when he has to cross Route 424, he starts to doubt himself. This is the point in the story when the tone starts to shift. After this, he has bad experiences at his “friends’” pools and feels unwelcome. By the end of his quest, Ned is exhausted and unable to finish swimming the length of a pool. Neddy’s physical decline aligns with the change in
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She then gives credibility to her claim by saying that Wharton “ranks with the greatest writers in her creation of setting and atmosphere.” She then compares the colors of Ethan Frome to the white of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick to show that while the book lacks color, it also has small touches of color in important things/people in the book: in Mattie’s cheeks and the pickle dish. Comparing the two books with one another gives her statements about the colors and their meanings some credibility. White proceeds to argue the point of how the snowy setting makes the story fall together, and of how Ethan’s emotions mirror the landscape. Both points use logos to convince the audience of the validity of White’s point.
When doing this he learns that if he clears his mind by breathing deeply and only focusing on the cold water his mind will clear taking the anger with it. He knows that his soak is never finished until his mind is cleared and his is at peace with himself and everything around him. When he is finally calm and his anger is gone he can get up and leave the pond. If he is completely calm then sometimes animals will approach him in the pond such as fish or beavers they will only do this if his mind is completely cleared of any thoughts and anger. When this happens he considers himself “invisible.”
Chris McCandless sought to find his happiness in the wilderness. Krakauer explains why and how McCandless went on the dangerous journey to Alaska in the novel, Into the Wild. Although many readers have thought he was unprepared and mentally ill, McCandless believed that society restricted people from understanding themselves. People are so focused in a lifestyle where they get an education, find a career and get a job from there. McCandless believed humans are focused on social status that they have forgotten to live without society.
Scott Fitzgerald and The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway feature imagistic descriptions which play to the reader’s senses to engage them in the atmosphere of their literature. Both authors appeal to all five senses in their descriptions to best encourage their audience’s ability to embody their fictional worlds. The use of sensory descriptors created an atmosphere or mood which is then conveyed to the reader through the use of imagery and figurative language. The reader can then better engage with the literature and be further transported to the fictional world which the respective author has created for them. Both Hemingway and Fitzgerald excel at addressing the senses in their imagistic styles of writing, allowing them to better convey the mood of their literature and better connect with their
In John Cheever 's “The Swimmer”, Neddy Merrill’s life is surrounded by rose-tinted surrealism. In the story, Neddy decides to be adventurous, and to swim in each of his neighbor’s swimming pools. With each passing pool, and each encounter with his neighbors, the story begins to take a dark turn, and a turn from Neddy’s rosie memories to the hard truth. When Neddy ventures to his old friend’s house, he realizes that they have sold the property awhile ago. He was completely unaware of his friends moving out.
Neddy Merrill, protagonist of The Swimmer by John Cheever, disconnected his mental state from reality through alcohol to numb the pain of his life. However, departure from alcohol driven illusion occurs with his cleansing through each pool he encounters. In Foster’s chapter, If She Comes Up It’s Baptism, water is a universal force that may cleanse, such as baptism, or eradicate, such as drowning. Furthermore, he describes that rebirth or death through water has painful consequences. Neddy must suffer through that very same pain as each pool reflects as a mirror does, his inner turmoil, until he emerges from the pool that manifests himself.
The short story, “The Swimmer” by John Cheever shows the journey of a man, Neddy Merrill, swimming in the many pools through his county to his home. It took him a very long time to do this, but his perception of time was very hard understand as the story went on. Throughout his journey, he drank a lot of alcohol. The consumption of alcohol was able to get him through the many pools, but at the end he was very weak and confused. At every pool he stopped at, he asked the homeowners for a drink.
In John Updike’s poem “Ex-Basketball Player” the poet uses literary devices to depict the existing way of life of a once-famous sportsperson. Flick Webb was in before times a gifted athlete on his high school basketball team, and he was commendable of much awe. However, Flick never acquired any other skills to prepare him for a future. Accordingly, he now is locked into an unskilled job and his former glories have pale to all but Flick himself. Updike has created a character that is at this point in time going nowhere and spends most of his time thinking about his former days of glory.
Older men constantly try to recapture their youth; denying the thought that they no longer live the exciting life they used to. A prime example of this characteristic can be found in John Cheever’s character, Neddy, in “The Swimmer.” Through symbolic meanings and representations of values, Cheever makes the setting of “The Swimmer” significant to the story. Neddy’s final setting reveals how alone he is and represents his final downfall.
In the short story “The Man Who Jumped into the Water” by Laurie Colwin, Charlie Hartz, who is a rich man builds a swimming pool that’s shorter than the size of an Olympic pool. The neighbors are always over and swimming with him or just sitting by the pool. He is always involved in the neighbor’s lives including the narrator’s sister, Willis, Jeremy, and the narrator herself. Throughout, the story Charlie tries to help the kid 's situations as they come up.
The book is begun through the eyes of a young girl called Rosemary, who, upon meeting the Divers, is utterly enchanted by them; she expresses, “the Divers represented externally the exact furthermost evolution of a class” (pg 32). They seem to be wealthy, stable, loving people, and she (in addition to the audience) places them on a pedestal of unfailing ability. This illusion of their ideal world, however, is unveiled once Rosemary discovers the presence of Nicole’s mental illness. In fact, the Divers are plagued by the disease, financial struggles, and crushed dreams; it is soon revealed that Dick had originally wanted to be the best psychologist in the world, but he abandoned his goal and succumbed to alcoholism. Nicole, moreover, is at first illustrated as a calm and stable woman, yet in actuality is extremely vulnerable and insecure.
Towards the end is where the transformation of the characters finalize after the malignant occurrence. The Swimmer, Greasy Lake, and Young Goodman Brown easily model a corruption of innocence due to a somewhat relevant and relatable evil. The Swimmer is not a typical story of a deranged vengeful evil, but instead a more realistic evil, unconscious ignorance or drunkenness. The character, Neddy, is introduced as an affluent flippant young dapper male.
At the beginning of the story, Cheever makes Neddy’s life looks like the picture perfect American Dream. His fancy suburban home was occupied by him, his wife, and four daughters. They had no problem attending social events. The Merrill’s
Life experience has taught me that perseverance is integral to keep a community progressing towards its goals. Perseverance is at my very core. My life has been dominated by competitive swimming for the last fourteen years, filled by long, hard, lonely practices for two to three hours at a time. Looking at the same straight black line at the bottom of the pool, except for an occasional reprieve to look at the ceiling when doing backstroke. What sane person would subject themselves to what appears to be torture?