Saturday, September 6, 2014

Neddy the swimmer

Neddy was the swimmer and his name alone seems to represent a privilege class of successful men. Neddy decides to swim home and imagines he is swimming the Lucinda River. The story starts off that he and Lucinda are at a party but Lucinda never makes an appearance at the original pool party. Was she really there? Neddy at the beginning of the story is described as youth and summer combined. He defines himself as an explorer. He is a strong confident swimmer and dives into the water. Neddy hates men who don’t dive head first into the water. This to me is a clue to how Neddy slowly evolves into a different older man at the end of his journey. Neddy acts as if it is his god given right to trespass and swim in public and private pools. Gradually he starts to tire and he longer dives in a pool but slowly approaches the pool. It is now getting colder and twilight is approaching. The people Neddy meets along the way are surprised or angry to see him. Neddy does not seem to think it inappropriate to swim at a former lover’s house. He appears at one house and is accused of being a gate crasher and a money seeker. Has Neddy borrowed money and not remembered it? And at every pool Neddy seems to ask for a drink. Is he an alcoholic? Neddy reaches one pool halfway from his home and it is empty and there is no water. What does this empty pool mean? Finally Neddy reaches home to find that his home is boarded up and empty. Neddy obviously has suffered from some mental break from reality.


  1. You make some excellent points! I believe alcoholism is feeding his deep rooted delusion within Neddy. The empty pool is definitely his first dose of reality. It is made apparent that maybe he is subconsciously withholding memories. The empty pool is the key to his discovery of reality.

    1. I don't know that we are supposed to see the drinking as the explanation of Neddy' circumstances; I think it serves more as a motif or symbol than as an explanation for Neddy's circumstances. Remember the context of the story; it was written in 1964 and drinking was viewed very differently then. Everyone is drinking, but not everyone ends up like Neddy. The drinking seems to serve more as a marker of social status (declining status for Neddy) and a point about how people in this environment connect and relate to on another. This motif also helps to establish or explain some of the disorientation and surrealism of the story.

  2. I felt like a lot of it was about alcoholism and how it affects life, but someone else on here made a good point about how it relates to the passage of time, and I thought that was also really interesting and the alcoholism thing ties in with it really well. Neddy wastes his youth drinking and exploring but never really being home, and then one days looks up to find that it's cost him his home and all of the people in his life. He wasted his youth but time kept moving on.

  3. I am so glad you brought up Neddy's name. The names in this story are really interesting, and I completely agree that the naming helps establish the privilege of the character. What about some of the other names in the story? I think the "Lucinda River" is a particularly interesting choice...