Essay on John Cheever & Suburban Life

969 Words Feb 16th, 2009 4 Pages
5 April 2006
John Cheever and the Suburban Life
The average person from suburban America can be either valiant, pathetic, or both. This is the description of an American suburbanite according to John Cheever, an American novelist and short story writer during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Cheever, an award winning writer, balances hope, uncertainty, and anxiety in his stories’ characters. In Cheever’s “The Swimmer”, the main character, Neddy Merrill, incorporates this description into his actions. The actions of Neddy Merrill can be compared to those of Francis Weed, the main character of Cheever’s “The Country Husband”. “The Swimmer” and “The Country Husband”, however different the plots of each may be, each analyze the suburban
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He believes that in doing so, he is a lively person. “–and while he was far from young he had slid down his banister that morning…” (Cheever 186). As part of his goal to retain youth, Neddy decides to swim through each pool in his county in order to “swim home”. This liveliness can be compared to John Cheever and his writing style. In reference to Cheever, Samuel Coale, a critic, states that, “He does not attempt to penetrate the darker and desperate depths of life but eagerly delights in the absurdities and arcane episodes of life” (Coale 103). Cheever will always make the reader aware of his style of writing. It is so different from others that it is easily recognized through his characters’ actions and problems. This rare writing style is also evident in Cheever’s “The Country Husband”.
Cheever uses descriptions so rare in his text that makes it evident it is his writing. In the short story, “The Country Husband”, Cheever uniquely describes the night, “Then it is dark; it is a night where kings in golden suits ride elephants over the mountains” (Cheever 518). The main character, Francis Weed, is another suburbanite, and in reference to Coale’s thoughts on Cheever’s writing, Cheever again does not show the bad side to life, but instead shows the positive aspect of it. As Francis Weed barely cheats death after a plane crash that nearly takes his life, he begins to look on the brighter side of his life. “The…