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What is Cheever's attitude toward Neddy in "The Swimmer" and how does the story's point...

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fester73 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 1, 2011 at 11:57 AM via web

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What is Cheever's attitude toward Neddy in "The Swimmer" and how does the story's point of view showcase it?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 3, 2011 at 11:52 PM (Answer #1)

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The story The Swimmer, by John Cheever is written in a limited, third-person, omniscient, and objective point of view. This is a literary technique often chosen by authors to allow the reader to create their own conjectures as to what is going on in the minds of the characters, and as a way to include the reader in the resolution of the plot.

However, Cheever is clear in that his purpose with Neddy is to use him as a poster-boy for a corporate, business-hungry, and shallow America. This being said, Cheever's attitude towards Neddy shows that his main character is selfish, empty, and somewhat cold-hearted. Cheever clearly does not bestow much honor upon Neddy.

If we analize this, Neddy is not unlike the rest of his cronies in the story. They all talk about nothing but business, even during parties. They even talk about people behind their backs. Neddy, particularly, is hedonistic and self-centered. His stint of swimming was his own way of trying to cope with the fact that he was a ruined man.

Concisely, Cheever uses Neddy to expose how people can become so consumed with ambition that they can lose track of everything else in life.

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