This affects our lives in different ways. Whether it is just a choice between trying a new cereal brand or the more difficult life choices, we are all reluctant to make changes in life. This is because our lives are made up of the choices we make. All meaning in life is created by choices, which makes the act of choosing an act associated with great fear and anxiety for the possible negative outcome of our choice. Through actively choosing, we can deal with the anxiety and in that way create a meaning with our life. .
In S.J. Butler's short story "The Swimmer", we follow a young woman as she overcomes her fear of swimming in the nearby river. At an extraordinarily hot day, she sits in her office and gazes at the river. She wants to go swimming but she is hit by and undefined anxiety, which she, after some time, defies and takes a swim in the river. When swimming, she meets a swan that scares her off and out of the river again. When sitting at her office, she cannot stop thinking about the swan, and she soon returns to the river again. The following days she spends more and more time in the river, each time progressing a bit further into the territory of the swan. When she is finally close enough to the swan, she discovers that it is tangled in fishing lines. She untangles the swan and lets it drift away.
The plot and the setting itself are fairly simple, but the composition, and the choice of words make up the story. The story is in the third person, and it is narrated trough the protagonist's perspective in what is called internal focalization. The third person narrator could create some distance between the reader and the protagonist but because of the use of internalisation with access to the protagonist's thoughts like "Her thoughts pull to and fro like overworked dough" (p.2, ll.32-33), the reader is pulled into the mind-set and it is easier for the reader to relate to the protagonist.