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The Swimmer - The Burden of Old Age

             It tells the story of a young man named Neddy who decides to swim back to his house using a network of swimming pools which he names the Lucinda river. On the surface the plot is very simple; however there are some hidden aspects. On his journey home Neddy experiences a symbolic journey through his life from the happiness of youth to the loneliness of old age. He goes through a journey of realization from the ignorance and innocence of being young. It is the story of a youthful man who discovers suffering as he moves forward in life.
             The main aspect of the subtext is the idea of growing old. The story begins with Neddy at the peak of his life. He is full of youth and is truly content. "The heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure." This shows he is very happy where he is and he is savouring his youth. The story also starts with Neddy having a childish streak. "He had slid down his banister that morning and given the bronze backside of Aphrodite on the hall table a smack." This shows his childish streak to emphasise the fact that he is still young. With his youth also comes his ambition and hope. Describing his discovery of the "Lucinda River" as "a contribution to modern geography." He sees himself as a hero and like the "Pilgrim Fathers." This shows his childhood as he sees himself as an explorer. Cheever tries to emphasise that Neddy is the picture of youth and that he has it all. He has "four beautiful daughters" and a "slenderness of youth." He is also seen to be wealthy as he sips on a glass of whiskey near a swimming pool. He is also sociable and popular as shown when "he stopped to kiss eight or ten other women." At this moment in time Neddy is at the pinnacle of his life and he is clearly content.
             As he begins on his journey his life starts to take a downward turn. For example the parties he attends get worse.

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