Questions and Answers for The Swimmer

The Swimmer

How does the third person point of view affect what we know about Ned and his life in "The Swimmer"? 

The third person point of view can be either omniscient or limited. An omniscient third person perspective means that the narrator can reveal the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in a...

Latest answer posted February 4, 2016 5:23 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

How does Neddy Merrill relate to the world in which he moves? Why does he decide to swim home?

Neddy in John Cheever's "The Swimmer" relates to his world as one who is entitled to its largess and friendship without thought of giving much, if anything, in return. We learn he slid down the...

Latest answer posted January 13, 2018 2:42 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

Describe the difference between Neddy's experiences before and after the storm in "The Swimmer."

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...

Latest answer posted March 3, 2020 8:15 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

What is the tone of "The Swimmer" by John Cheever?

Although the tone at the beginning of "The Swimmer" is light, it becomes contemplative, then ominous, and finally darkly surreal. These mood shifts occur subtly and match the waning energy Neddy...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2016 12:32 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

In "The Swimmer," how does Neddy Merrill relate to the world in which he moves? Why does he decide to swim home?  

The character of Neddy Merrill is initially represented as one of continual youthful exuberance and vitality. He approaches the world around him as an invitation, with a general spirit related to...

Latest answer posted March 18, 2016 5:18 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

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

The narrator of “The Swimmer” is omniscient, meaning that the narrator does not have a particular point of view. Still, from the way John Cheever constructed the story, we can surmise the author’s...

Latest answer posted August 3, 2018 4:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

Why does Neddy Merrill only talk with women?  

There are several reasons why Neddy Merrill might only speak with women. First, he often meets women by the pools while their husbands are inside the house. In addition, he looks to women to...

Latest answer posted October 23, 2017 2:02 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

What is the time period of "The Swimmer"?

John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer" was published in 1964. The setting of the story is the American suburbs, which flourished following the end of World War II. While no definitive date is...

Latest answer posted March 28, 2011 7:11 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

How is class addressed in the short story "The Swimmer?"

One of the main themes in "The Swimmer" is the gap between social status and wealth. Ned, the protagonist, was once a person of wealth and held in regard in his affluent community. The story takes...

Latest answer posted April 8, 2013 4:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What was the John Cheever's attitude towards affluent suburbia in "The Swimmer"?

As expressed in his short story "The Swimmer", John Cheever's attitude towards affluent suburbia is one of scorn. He believes that their values are shallow and unfulfilling, and their...

Latest answer posted October 25, 2008 2:52 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What elements of "The Swimmer" equate to postmodernism?

One aspect of postmodern fiction is the way that it does not yield up its meaning directly. Postmodern fiction is defined by its rejection of linear narrative and sequential plotting, combined with...

Latest answer posted April 7, 2013 7:44 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is the role that alcoholism plays in John Cheever's "The Swimmer?"

Alcohol is a prominent aspect of the milieu that surrounds Neddy Merrill. As the story opens, impressionistic bits of dialogue suggest that everyone, from the parish priest, to the leader of the...

Latest answer posted August 10, 2018 7:33 pm UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

In "The Swimmer," does Neddy gain a sense of freedom after his journey on the Lucinda?

He does not gain a sense of freedom. In fact, he is trapped. At the end of the story, Neddy is trapped at the end of his journey. Not only is he locked out of his house, but his house has also...

Latest answer posted May 29, 2008 12:06 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is the plot, climax, and conflict behind the story "The Swimmer"?

The plot of the Swimmer is strange but simple. Neddy Merill, an affluent man of middle age visiting friends after a weekend of drinking decides he will swim his way home through all the...

Latest answer posted February 15, 2020 5:18 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

In "The Swimmer," how does the symbol of the swimming quest affect how the worth of the protagonist is presented?

You might like to consider the way in which the central quest of the swimming journey that Neddy Merrill undertakes is linked to the cycle of life and his own failing physical condition. He is a...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2011 12:12 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

How is Neddy Merrill presented in the beginning of the story?  How would you describe the narrator's tone, and what...

The depiction of the protagonist as a hero is a complex one. The depiction offered of Neddy in the exposition of the story, before he undertakes his "heroic quest," is one where youthful vigor is...

Latest answer posted July 20, 2013 3:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

In "The Swimmer," how do the major symbols challenge our view of these characters as human beings?

There is a sense in which this excellent allegorical short story presents us with a rather harsh critique of the rich and powerful in American society. One of the primary symbols that is used to...

Latest answer posted November 14, 2011 12:20 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Neddy is alive at the end of "The Swimmer," so what happens to him after he finds his house for sale and family gone?

This story is full of wonderful themes like illusion vs. reality and alienation and loneliness. Neddy is an interesting character because he prides himself on being a little "odd" and...

Latest answer posted April 1, 2008 9:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Describe the mood at the beginning of the story "The Swimmer?

The mood at the beginning of this story is humorous and sluggish. The narrator states that "It was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying 'I drank too much last night'."...

Latest answer posted October 10, 2013 12:59 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Did Neddy really love his wife in "The Swimmer"?

In The Swimmer, by John Cheever, the plot attempts to disclose the shallowness and emptiness of human relations in everyday upper-class, suburban, and business-minded America. We are aware that...

Latest answer posted June 3, 2011 11:40 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is the allegory of the film The Swimmer?

The 1968 film adaptation of John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer" is generally considered to be an allegory of the American Dream. As with most such allegories, the film subverts the American...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2020 7:16 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

I'm trying to figure out if what happens to Neddy is a result of a breakdown, an alcoholic haze, losing everything,...

In John Cheever's "The Swimmer," I don't know if you are supposed to find a specific answer, as much as look to his experiences as a metaphor of his life. Neddy comes from the upper echelons of...

Latest answer posted November 9, 2010 12:34 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

In "The Swimmer," did Ned's drinking cause him to lose his home, or did he start drinking because he lost his home?

Neddy did not start drinking because he lost his home. He had done a lot of drinking, in fact, prior to arriving home to find his house dark and his family gone. There are several suggestions why...

Latest answer posted March 27, 2009 9:27 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is the difference between the swimmer and the swimming in "The Swimmer"?

The swimmer, Neddy Merril, is a rather pathetic figure. Initially, he seems young and heroic. However, as he continues on his journey home, we see him change quite a bit, especially after the...

Latest answer posted November 20, 2007 9:47 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What does "The Swimmer" have to do with the journey of life?

Cheever's "The Swimmer" can be read as an allegory for the life cycle. Note from the very beginning of the story when Neddy quickly dives into the Westerhazys' pool and scoffs at using...

Latest answer posted February 18, 2008 10:17 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is the significance of Neddie's visit to the public swimming pool as opposed to the private ones?

Neddy Merrill's journey through the pools of his suburban town is meant to parallel a man's journey through life. When he starts out, he is described as youthfully middle aged, athletic and...

Latest answer posted April 27, 2010 8:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Identify an example of hypocrisy in Cheever's "The Swimmer."

I think that one of the most interesting examples of hypocrisy that is present in the short story would have to center on the neighborhood in which Neddy lives and stages his quest. On one hand,...

Latest answer posted December 26, 2012 6:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

To what extent does "The Swimmer" express some form of postmodern fiction?

According to R. Stevenson, et al, the elements of post-modern fiction in literature include the following characteristics: playfulness with language experimentation in the form of the novel less...

Latest answer posted June 20, 2011 1:18 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Explain “The Swimmer” as a critique of modern society.

I think that one of the strongest critiques offered in Cheever's story is the idea of the shallowness in wealth. Neddy lives in an area where affluence is so prevalent that he can swim the...

Latest answer posted December 25, 2012 10:00 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Could somebody help me to understand "The Swimmer"?

Hola! The Swimmer is a story about a man called Neddy Merrill who was rich, powerful, had friends, a mistress, and lots of social contacts. He is quite egocentric and he has a fixation with...

Latest answer posted May 13, 2010 10:35 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What happens between paragraphs 1-11? And what point is conveyed by the second person narration?

In this first section of John Cheever's unique story, "The Swimmer," Neddy Merrill is the focus of the story as he sits poolside in the warm sun--"he might have been compared to a summer's day,...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2015 11:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

How does the setting add to or take away from the story as it is being told?

Great question! The setting acts as one of the many tools in an author's tool box. They can use the wheres and whens of a story to make it more or less accessible to their audience. It can be...

Latest answer posted February 13, 2009 3:29 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Have you understood what event is being discussed by people in the 1st paragraph of the story?

The first paragraph of Cheever's story is detailing a discussion about a gathering or party the night before. It is significant in that it reflects a pervading attitude in the community. The...

Latest answer posted December 26, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Is Neddy trying to cover up his true weak, unlikeable, poor self with this heroic, athletic, wealthy image?

By the end of the story, the reader realizes that Neddy is not really trying to cover up the weak and poor image. Neddy has lost touch with this aspect of his life, whether through denial or a...

Latest answer posted January 6, 2008 5:14 am UTC

2 educator answers

The Swimmer

In what order did the narrator swim to each house? What were the names of the pools he swam to in order.

"The Swimmer" is a short story written by John Cheever. The narrator of the story, Neddy Merrill, decides to "swim home" across one suburban pool after another in the neighborhood in which he...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2011 2:39 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

In the story "The Swimmer", where did Ned start to lose faith?

I think the turning point for Ned occurs when he is trapped in the beach house while the storm hits. Prior to that he sees himself as this Greek god-like figure attempting this heroic feat. In...

Latest answer posted October 29, 2007 5:21 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

What is Cheever's purpose in delaying the revelation about Neddy's family and home?

The purpose of delaying the revelation about Neddy's family and home is to provide a shock factor after we see all the things he was doing to deflect his reality. It is more fascinating for the...

Latest answer posted July 19, 2010 10:37 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Examine how the symbolism of the journey reflects human consciousness in "The Swimmer."

I think that there is much in way of the symbolism in the journey that Neddy undertakes and its connection to modern being in the world. On one hand, the quest has significance to Neddy and that's...

Latest answer posted December 26, 2012 3:46 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

At the heart of the American Dream is the idea that prosperity is a reward for hard work. There has been a long...

In John Cheever's The Swimmer, as in Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited and Rebecca Harding Davis' Life in the Iron Mills, it is suggested that money comes between people and promotes insularity and...

Latest answer posted December 14, 2018 2:13 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Which of the Cheever stories did you enjoy the most, the enormous radio or the swimmer? Why? Did you find one or both...

Please note: The post contains numerous questions. The eNotes Homework Help policy allows for one question per post. This answer primarily addresses the last question. John Cheever’s stories are...

Latest answer posted December 11, 2019 6:47 am UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

names of houses swam to in order pools in order

This question has already been asked and answered. Please refer to the link below. As always, thank you for using eNotes....

Latest answer posted September 30, 2011 1:10 pm UTC

1 educator answer

The Swimmer

Analyze the depiction of the American family in "The Swimmer," "A Small, Good Thing," and "Average Waves in...

All three stories depict the American family by examining devastating yet sadly common life events. Characters in all three stories seem unable to understand the impersonal nature of tragedy and...

Latest answer posted June 26, 2020 8:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer