People spend their free time doing different things. As explained by John Cheever in one of his famous stories the swimmer, some people find it very difficult to deal with their emotional depressions. The story the swimmer by John Cheever gives a story on a man obsessed with swimming. The thesis of the story is; Neddy Merrill finds himself on a journey he believes to be exploring to different pools across the countyand along the way he tries to accommodate the various characters he meets in which he finds most of them inhospitable. This paper will examine the main purpose of the author constructing the story and the how well he has created the story with the relevant significant justifications from the text.
John Cheever, the author of the story the swimmer has created this story to show the various ways in which people spend their free time. Some people spend their leisure time doing what they consider a hobby; this might be, swimming, watching movies, or playing tennis. All these are relevant hobbies and anyone should not be denied the chance to explore their interest. John has created the story purposely to show how well and constructive people use their free time; some use it for the right reasons while some misuse it for their own self-interest reasons. Additionally, the author has also created the story to show how people can be carried away with emotional depression. One should be able to ask a number of questions from the story. For instance, what should we do when we have free time? How are the activities we engage in during our free time relevant to us and those around us?
The author has indeed succeeded in reaching the goal of depicting the misuse of free time. the story is about a man, Neddy Merrill who gets depressed and carried away with emotional discomfort which leaves him delusional. The story depicts that Neddys family is no longer there with him; maybe they are dead or they left. The author has not given a clear indication on their whereabouts, but from the way Neddy acts looks like they are not living with him. for example, the narrator narrates His own house stood in bullet park, eight miles to the south, where his four beautiful daughters would have had their lunch and might be playing tennis (Pg. 726). The word tense the author has used in this sentence shows that they are no longer there anymore. Additionally, before he begins his journey of exploring various pools across the county, he says that he would name the stream around him after his wife, Lucinda (Pg. 727). What he does seem like he is not himself; maybe he might be suffering from the loss of his family and that is why he cannot remember anything. Mrs. Halloran tells him that weve been terribly sorry to hear about all your misfortunes (Pg. 733). Although he seems to be lost in the conversation; but we can depict the meaning of the statement from the previous narration.
Neddy is an aged man and in a normal circumstance one should expect him to do anything other than running across the county swimming in every pool as a young man. He is an old man who should be having a family to take care of and yet he still engage in activities that the youths should engage in. he takes advantage of his slenderness to enjoy some of the youthful activities. For example, Cheever describes him as he was a slender man- he seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth (Pg. 726). Additionally, the narrator explains that he has a wife (Lucinda Merrill) and four daughters; where his four beautiful daughters would have had their lunch and might be playing tennis (Pg. 726). He plans to swim in every pool in the county, some of the pools he identifies include; the Grahams, the Hammers, the Lears, the Howlands and the Crosscups (Pg. 727).
What Neddy is doing is not just immature but also stupid. Everyone he finds on his way is unpleasant to see him. Although the author has not given the actual reason behind his hate from people he meets, but we can conclude from the activities he engages in and the age he is; someone in his age cannot be associated with what he does. Everyone he finds shows him the hate look; for instance, Mrs. Halloran tells him about what he has done to his family and to him it looks like an illusion.
The author has not given clear explanation on Neddys family whereabouts; without this explanation, one might not be able to tell where Neddy is actually hallucinating or not. In his conversation with Mrs. Halloran, he seems to be not aware of the subject matter Mrs. Halloran is talking about. For instance, My misfrotunes?.......i dont know what you mean (Pg. 733). The story means that people are normally carried away with traumatic stress which might lead someone to do something they are not supposed to do. Through the main character, Neddys story, one is able to depict the meaning of the story. One can interpret the story that Neddy has been hallucinating all along, because he expected his family to be home but when he gets there they are no longer there and the house is empty.
In conclusion, the story the swimmer by John Cheever is a story that anyone could read; both the aged and young. It is a motivating story especially to people who cannot be able to control their emotions when they are caught up in a situation.
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