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Symbolism in Cheever's "The Swimmer"

This week's literary club plans to discuss symbolism in John Cheeverâ??s â??The Swimmer.â?

Explain what you think the following symbolize in this story:
The Pool
The Highway
The Character, Needy
List and explain 2â?"3 other symbols you think are important to the outcome of the story.
Explain why there may be different interpretations by readers.

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First off, as you explicate some basic story symbols in order to formulate your own paper, it seems like the pool offers obvious representations since it correlates with the title and suggests how the protagonist's entire act of swimming in the pools seems to suggest his quest for renewing, forgiving, or cleansing his life's of his sins and immoral actions, especially his infidelity. I feel that the outcome and realization that all is lost might connect with this symbol because he might be subconsciously trying to renew, forgive, and cleanse what he did.

However, he cannot even recall the exact timing of his affair with Shirley Adams. He guesses, "...last week, last month, last year." Shirley questions him with, "Will you ever grow up?" As a result, it seems like his pool escapades could also serve as a symbol of avoiding life. This symbol is important for the outcome because it shows the harsh reality of how and when he learns that his games and behaviors have cost him everything ultimately in the end.

The water symbolism of the pool could also suggest a sort of baptism if you want to present a spiritual reading with the water and his visits to all the pools. Because the outcome shows him at the bottom with nothing and no one as a result of his sins, this symbol might connect with his ...

Solution Summary

Symbolism is clearly identified in Cheever's "The Swimmer" using textual evidence to validate.