In the short story ?The Swimmer?, John Cheever uses symbolism quite often. It is used to reveal the theme and show imagery. We will reflect on this shortstory and analyze the symbolism Cheever is most notable for. The story takesplace in a very wealthy neighborhood where almost everyone has a pool. Not youraverage above ground pool, but enormous in-ground pools, some fed by streams.
One hot summer day a man named Neddy Merrill was swimming at the Westerhazy’spool, ?Neddy Merrill sat by the green water, one hand in it, one around aglass of gin? (369) He is described as a slender man, a man of youth eventhough he is not young. ?He might be described as a summers day?? (369)Cheever compares Needy to a summer’s day to show Needy as a warm, sportyperson, without a care in the world. Neddy decides he is going to try and swimto his house 8 miles away in Bullet Park. He feels the ?string of swimmingpools? (369) can take him home. ? Making his way home by this uncommon routegave him the feeling that he was a pilgrim, an explorer, a man with a destiny?(370) In no way is he any of these things, but he thinks that to make himselffeel more interesting. On his was home he knew he would see many friends anddidn’t want to be slowed down by conversation so he would have to be slick andslip away whenever he got tied up.
It seems as though everyone was havingfriends over, he was offered many drinks. He swam half way home and he alreadyhad 4 or 5. ? He felt tired, clean, and pleased at the moment to be alone,pleased with everything. ?(370) Along his journey he noticed some strangethings going on, the Lindley’s riding ring was overgrown with grass, and theWelchers have moved away.
Neddy fails to remember them ever leaving. ?Was hismemory failing him or had he so disciplined it in the repression of unpleasantfacts that he damaged the sense of the truth. ? (372) Further down along thetrip he notices more and more things out of the ordinary, thing he doesn’tremember. Mrs.
Hakbran said, ?we’ve been terribly sorry about all yourmisfortunes? (374) She spoke of him selling the house and his troubledchildren. He did not understand,?was he losing his memory or was his gift forconcealing painful facts let him forget he had sold the house or that hischildren are in trouble?? (374) After running into his old mistress and avery rude Grace Biswanger, Neddy finally returned home. He noticed all thelights were out. The garage was locked and the door handle was rusty. He bangedon the door but there was no answer, he looked in the window and the place wasempty.
He should have seen it coming but he obviously didn’t catch on . Itseems as though that he had hid the unpleasant realities of life from his mindthat he had forgotten the last few years of his life.