The Passage of Time and Life in The Swimmer, by John Cheever

2346 Words10 Pages
Having written a multitude of short stories and novels, author, John Cheever, has showcased his incredible writing abilities multiple times throughout his career. Even as a child, Cheever outwardly expressed his desire to write. As proven by his longstanding career, Cheever’s thirst for writing remained with him throughout his entire life. In perhaps his most famous piece of work, “The Swimmer,” Cheever’s impeccable writing ability is showcased brilliantly. Although originally set out to be a novel, “The Swimmer” has grown to become a widely recognized and analyzed short story, one which both readers and literary critics alike admire. By drawing on his personal life and by using a wide range of writing techniques, Cheever depicts and…show more content…
It is this structure precisely that gives Cheever’s works the power to resonate with a wide range of individuals. Author of John Cheever's Flowering Forth: The Breakthroughs of 1947, James O’Hara, discusses this aspect of Cheever’s writing in his academic journal:
He had continued to experiment with the choice of materials for his stories, and had gradually won over editors with a combination of solid structural technique-he had always known how to put a story together-and Hemingwayesque understatement. (51)
Although O’Hara did not specifically address the short story “The Swimmer” in this particular excerpt, this quotation is nonetheless viable and true in its claims.
Along with a solid structure, in order for a piece of fiction to resonate with readers, the work also has to have meaningful characters. Cheever has proven to excel in this aspect of writing as well. This excellence can also be attributed to Cheever and his personal life. Bloom writes: "Just like his characters, then, Cheever was not a perfect man, yet he was a decent one, who believed in heroism and sentiment and family and a minor man's capacity to glory." Neddy Merrill, the main character in “The Swimmer,” can be described in a similar manner, for he too is an imperfect man who seeks glory and purpose. In the same vein, literary analyst, Robert A. Morace, states: "The characters in this and other Cheever fictions all face the same
Get Access