The Swimmer John Cheever

769 Words4 Pages
John Cheever
Legendary Short-Story Writer

John Cheever was a “bestselling, Pulitzer prize-winning author of five novels and some of the most brilliant short stories ever published” (Cooke, 1). He was part of a middle-class family that lived in Massachusetts. Although Cheever went to a private school and was a creative writer, he had a difficult time succeeding academically. He went to Thayer Academy in high school where he was expelled for smoking and bad grades. John Cheever can be compared to his own character in “The Swimmer”, Ned Merrill, through their family life, battle with alcoholism, and dysfunctional relationships. From a biographical standpoint, John Cheever’s family life was relatively similar to his wealthy character, Ned Merrill,
…show more content…
The beginning of the story begins with the discussion of hangovers. Cheever surprisingly even includes the parishioners and priest who have hangovers on Sunday morning. “It was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying: ‘I drank too much last night’ (Cheever, 2250). As the story progresses, it is evident that the main character is an alcoholic as well as many of the citizens in the neighborhood. At each house Ned swims at he would get a drink of alcohol. He becomes so intoxicated that by the end of the story that he is confused when Mrs. Halloran told him “she was sorry to hear about all of his misfortunes. His delusional response was “My misfortunes? (Cheever, 2254). Martin Chilton describes Cheeves by stating, “Booze was a theme of his work and his life” (2). John Cheever struggled with alcoholism until late in life when he finally went to a treatment center and became sober. He grew up with a dad that turned to alcohol for coping with stress, and Cheever repeated history by also becoming an addict. In the early 1960’s, he had a beautiful home, wife, and children. His career began to take off and he his first book had been published. “However, behind the scenes, all was not well. Cheever was often drunk before lunch” (Cooke,…show more content…
In “The Swimmer” Ned Merrill was married with four children. However, one of the houses he visits is his former mistress. “The next pool on his list, the last but two, belonged to his old mistress, Shirley Adams (Cheever, 2256). In comparison, Cheever was married with three children. Nevertheless, he had numerous affairs, homosexual relationships with other men, and was reported to see men prostitutes as well. Even at the end of his cancer-stricken life, Cheever lived with his wife and his boyfriend Max Zimmer. According to Blake, “Mary moved Cheever back into the marital bedroom for the first time in years; and Cheever moved Max into the spare bedroom
Open Document