The Swimmer

The Inevitable Passage of Time in "The Swimmer" 9th Grade

“The Swimmer,” is a short story written by John Cheever. In his short story titled “The Swimmer,” the main character, Neddy Merrill, attempts to travel home by swimming through his neighbors’ pools. As the story progresses, time is shown to be passing a lot faster than originally perceived. His old friends start to scorn him for not growing up. Neddy doesn’t realize how much time has passed until he faces his long empty house at the end of the story. Throughout the story, memory is used as a literary device to portray the inevitable passage of time.

One of the ways that the passing of time is shown in the story is the slight details used throughout the story telling the reader that it has been so long, the Neddy Merrill can barely even remember how long ago these events occurred. “They had had an affair last week, last month, last year. He couldn’t remember.” (Cheever, 736). This quote shows that Neddy cannot remember how long ago these affairs happened. He has been wasting time swimming in life for so long that he can barely remember how much time has passed. As quoted, “Neddy, cold and faint, finds his wife and his daughters gone, "the place empty"--his world lost.” (Kozikowski, 367) This shows that Neddy, as time has...

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