For the most part, the storm divides Neddy Merrill’s positive and negative experiences. In the first half of the story John Cheever provides some foreshadowing which alerts the reader that all is not well in Neddy’s suburban world and difficulties lie ahead. At first the beautiful, sunny, summer sky reveals a massive cloud bank in the distance; the sky darkens along with the mood and in tandem with the increasing effort that Neddy must expend.
While Neddy feels strong, he decides to devote his energies to a purely recreational project, swimming through his neighbors’s backyard pools. Merely engaging in any physical exertion will distinguish him from the hungover neighbors with whom he was lazing around the pool. He thinks of himself as a pilgrim or explorer who has a “destiny,” thus endowing his frivolous project with religious overtones and associating him with America’s historical manifest destiny.
His first attempt at the Westerhazy’s pool encourages him to continue. Knowing...
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