The Swimmer | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 4 pages of analysis & critique of The Swimmer.
This section contains 1,009 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet

SOURCE: Blythe, Hal, and Charlie Sweet. “Perverted Sacraments in John Cheever's ‘The Swimmer.’” Studies in Short Fiction 21, no. 4 (fall 1984): 393-94.

In the following essay, Blythe and Sweet probe Cheever's “ironic use of three holy sacraments” in “The Swimmer.”

John Cheever indicates the distance between the goal of Ned Merrill's quest in “The Swimmer” and what he actually achieves—nothing—by the ironic use of three holy sacraments, the Eucharist, baptism, and marriage. Specifically, Merrill's perversion of these traditional Christian ceremonies suggests the reason for his emptiness at the story's conclusion.

“The Swimmer” begins with a suburban parody of the communal Eucharist. Appropriately it is Sunday and the celebrants are drinking wine. Theirs, however, is no ritual of purification, selfless dedication, and remembrance of the ultimate sacrifice. Although these celebrants have chosen the Sabbath, it is also midsummer, a favorite time for pagan rites. Instead of a symbolic sip...

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This section contains 1,009 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet
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Critical Essay by Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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