An Analysis Of John Cheever 's ' The Swimmer '

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Snigdha Sama Mrs. Hurtado English I H 9 March 2016 A Tale of Riches to Rags in “The Swimmer” The character and intelligence of a person is truly shown when he or she is forced to face reality. This is clearly established in “The Swimmer”, a story about a man thrown off his high horse. The story starts with Neddy Merrill and his group of wealthy socialites conversing at the Westerhazys’ house. Flashing back to his Olympic days, Neddy decides to swim through bodies of water to reach his house. He calls this trail the “Lucinda River” and with a lot of effort, as he isn’t as fast as he was in his prime years, he reaches his house, only to find it empty and devoid of his wife and daughters. John Cheever cleverly brings together a seemingly random series of events and combines them. His writing style is best explained by his own words when he says “Fiction is art and art is the triumph over chaos.” In his award-winning short story, “The Swimmer”, John Cheever uses symbolism, imagery, and characterization to establish a seemingly silly and childish tone that evolves into a somber and realistic mood. Symbolism is used a lot in the establishment of the mood. One way Cheever used symbolism in the story was the change from dawn to dusk he shows in the tale. At the beginning of the story, Neddy Merrill says “It was a fine day. In the west there was a massive stand of cumulus cloud so like a city seen from a distance-from the bow of an approaching ship-that it might have a

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