Sunday, September 7, 2014

The swimmer

When you start your day off by saying, "I drank too much last night" and then you crack open another bottle, it is usually a key indication that there is some kind of problem going on. Alcoholism is no joke, “It takes away free-will, rational thought and the ability to appreciate life in and of itself. Alcoholism is a slow form of suicide and it is painful for everyone around to watch as it progresses toward death” This is exactly what I believe John Cheeze was trying to portray in his story, and he did a very good at it too. It destroyed Neddy’s ife, it caused him to lose his house, family, friends, and even his mind.  He swam pool to pool trying to live in the moment and forget about how miserable he had caused his life to become. He used his friends to get what he wanted and felt as if it was owed to him, because people once enjoyed his company. People felt sorry for him.  When old friends tried talking to him about it, he would ignore them, selectively chooses which memories he wanted to remember. “Whiskey would warm him, pick him up, carry him through the last of his journey, refresh his feeling that it was original and valorous to swim across the

County (8).” Neddy needed the alcohol, “he needed the stimulate (8),” to wake up. It was the only way he could gain enough strength to wake up every day to the life he created for himself through his addiction.

Personally, I have seen what alcoholism does to people, it changes who you are and at a certain point there is no getting the “person you once knew” back. They live in a selfish world where they think everything is owed to them or the pity themselves. Addicts lie, cheat, and steal. Neddy Merrill is an addict and these unfortunate things caused him to be a person that he might not have been before. It turned his perfect world upside-down. The swimmer is a fabulous story about how “water” can drown a person.  

1 comment:

  1. Ami,
    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.