The Swimmer Essay

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In the following brief article, Byrne discusses the symbolism of names in "The Swimmer."

Like modern writers as diverse as Joyce, Fitzgerald, and Barthelme, John Cheever found an artistic delight in lists, specifically a list of names: "It's perfectly beautiful. You can use an invitation list as a lyrical poem. A sort of evocation. I believe I've used it once or twice." One of Cheever's most anthologized stories, "The Swimmer," includes a list of names representing ports of call on Neddy Merrill's Sunday odyssey: "The only maps and charts he had to go by were remembered or imaginary but these were clear enough. First there were the Grahams, the Hammers, the Lears, the Howlands, and the Crosscups. He would cross Ditmar Street to the Bunkers and come, after a short portage, to the Levys, the Welchers, and the public pool in Lancaster. Then there were the Hallorans, the...

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This section contains 640 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Swimmer Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Swimmer from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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