Throughout the story as Ned travels from pool to pool, more and more is revealed bout him by his neighbors, things that Ned had seemingly forgotten or chosen to Ignore. Upon first observation, It would appear that Needs drinking had clouded his memory of certain things that had taken place recently like ?¦When had he last heard from the Wheelers?o (American Literature, 2412). However, as the story progresses It is made clear that Ned has the tendency to conceal painful facts, keeping them repressed as a defense mechanism to deal with the real misery of his life.
Because of that tendency of Needs, one of the most prominent themes in The Swimmer is one must face reality eventually. This is exemplified within the story when Ned finds himself at his mistress’ house and at the very end when he himself finally makes It home. This theme goes well with the usual John Cheaper subject matter like ?¦manners and morals of middle-class, suburban America, and the emotional emptiness of life?0 ( Likened, 1) showing that Cheerer’s work is rooted in Modernism. Needy Merrill Is clearly in denial about the actual events that have taken place In his life.
As he Is going from pool to pool the neighbors mention his misfortunes. For example when he arrives at the Holland residence the wife shows sympathy for Ned avian lost his house and the condition his children were in, all things that Ned seemed completely unaware about. When he goes to the Blessings house, he overhears talk about his family going broke overnight and he Ignored It as If it were not true (American Literature, 2415). During the next instant he was forced to face the reality of the relationship with his mistress Shirley Adams.
Ned was expecting to show up and receive ?¦love-sexual roughhouse?o from Shirley (American Literature, 2416). What he got Instead was the cold shoulder which he was not expecting. In Needs alternate reality, Shirley was still his lover and would be there to ?¦cure?ј him but that was not the case. The incident with Shirley Adams was the first sign of Ned realizing that he had been In denial but the most significant example of reality staring Ned directly In his face was his arrival home.
Throughout the story the reader Is led to believe that Needy has a wife named Lucian and that they live together with their four beautiful daughters. Snippets of information gave hints that life was not as perfect as Ned is Imagining when the neighbors start to say certain things about Needs status like him owing broke and asking for money. All the while Ned as been Ignoring these things until he gets home and wonders why the place is so dark- ?cases it so late that they 1 OFF Ana all gone to Deck’* Ha Lacuna stayed at ten westernizes Tort supper girls Joined her there or gone someplace else? ?0 (American literature, 2416). Ned then begin to take notice of the poor condition of the house and eventually tried to get in. He finally realized ?cachet the place was empty?0 (American Literature, 2417). Everything that the neighbors had said about Ned and his family was true. He didn’t have his family together, they had lost money, and the house was no longer his. Needy Merrill was great at ignoring the true events of life but he had to face it in the end.
The theme one has to face reality eventually is clearly shown in The Swimmer. The protagonist in the story constantly ran away from the truth and was in denial about the misfortunes that had befallen him and he eventually had to face reality. John Achiever’s work placed him in the literary movement of Modernism because he wrote about how changes like suburban living impacted the lives of Americans during the time. His work also reflected how his life in particular was affected.
John Cheaper turned to alcohol as a vice and it was something that disrupted his life completely (American Literature, 2409). In the story, not only does Ned use alcohol to drown out the pain of reality but everyone else in suburbia does the same. The story even opens with ?Celt was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying: ‘l drank too much last night’?0 (American Literature, 2409). Therefore, the Modernistic style is expressed thoroughly by Cheaper as he reflects his own life and the lives of Americans in his work.