The Swimmer John Cheever

“The Swimmer” John Cheever’s short story “The Swimmer” was probably the most confusing story we have read in our class. When I read it the first time, the whole idea of “pool hopping” had stuck me as very odd. It also had a sort of sad mood throughout the whole story, and it was kind of a mystery because the neighbors were saying all these things about Neddy, but he had no idea what they were talking about. It was actually fun to read, and I liked the story, the theme and the whole concept of it.

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It’s funny how we called the river the Denial river, since Neddy was in such denial about everything. I really had no idea he was actually psychologically in denial so bad that he doesn’t even remember what happens to his family and his house. It starts of with Neddy having this crazy idea that since there are so many swimming pools between his current location and his own home, that he can literally swim home.

He’s swims through a few of the pools until he reaches the Bunkers’ pool. I then began to sense that something is definitely wrong. There is a party in full swing, to which Neddy has apparently been invited, but his wife has called in his regrets, telling them he could not come. This shows how snobbish Neddy and his wife are, because throughout the story they had denied quite a few invitations. A sudden storm breaks through and Neddy takes cover in the Levys’ gazebo.

When the rain passes, he observes that “the force of the wind had stripped a maple of its red and yellow leaves and scattered them over the grass and the water. ” Unfortunately, Neddy still believes it is summer, at least that’s what it was a few hours ago. But this is not the case, because his observations prove that autumn has come. At the Holloran’s house Neddy asks for a drink, but Helen tells him that there isn’t any alcohol in her house ever since Eric’s operation.

Neddy was very confused because he feels as if he should remember what happened, but he does’t. Finally, he arrives at his old mistresses house, while the weather has gotten to be very cold. When she opens the door she makes a statement that she will not give him anymore money. He has no idea what she is talking about, and this showed me that he probably had gone bankrupt during his life. When he finally reaches his home, he realizes that no one is inside, and that he house had been for sale for quite a while.

This story had a very upsetting ending, and left me wondering what had really happened. I came to a conclusion that Neddy lost his house, wife, and children due to his lack of money. He seems to be very distraught, confused, and definitely in denial. I really hoped the ending would be a little bit more extended, so it didn’t just leave you hanging. Cheever has a great talent for writing, because this story was unlike others I have read. It’s very mysterious and interesting. Overall, I really enjoyed reading “The Swimmer”.

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