Essay on Symbolic Meaning in John Cheever’s, The Swimmer

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In John Cheever’s, “The Swimmer”, on a hot summer Sunday ,while sitting by the pool with his wife and neighbors, as they all complained about their hangovers, a man of higher status named Needy Merrill decides to get home by swimming through the pools in his county. When Needy first starts off his journey he feels young and enthusiastic; he is then greeted in a joyous manner by his neighborhood friends. Apparently, Needy is a well-known and respected man. As his journey progresses he starts seeing red and orange leaves; he then realizes that it was fall. In the middle of his journey he starts to endure some turmoil, but he does not let that stop his journey. As his journey ends, Needy starts to come encounter with some people who …show more content…
When the journey started off, the weather was comfortable and Needy spirit was full of happiness and energy. Then, when the weather became dark and cold, he became sad. Toward the end, the pools began to get icy cold and he couldn’t take it anymore, showing that his life was at its wits. The weather was a representation on how his life had took its turn for the worse. Another way Cheever uses setting symbolically, is by using the swimming pools to represent the cycle in which his life went. Cheever writes that Needy started realizing his social score had went down, when he had arrived at the Biswangers party and was treated rudely.” The bartender served him, but served him rudely. His was world in which the caterer’s man kept the social score, and to be rebuffed by a part-time barkeep meant that he had suffered some loss of social-esteem.”(256). The first few swimming pools Needy visited, he was well-respected by his friends. Towards the end, his friends started treating him like an outcast and bringing up his misfortune. As he went through the different swimming pools, the respect that he was given went downhill. Cheever also uses setting symbolically, by using the gazebo to represent loneliness. Cheever writes that Needy felt pleased to be alone. “He felt tired, clean, and pleased at that moment; pleased at everything.”(252) Needy sat in the gazebo alone and cold. While Needy was in the gazebo, it began to raining. This symbolized the part in his life

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