University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Symbolism Analysis of the Swimmer
n the Swimmer the character (Neddy) swims through several pools on a journey he believes would “enlarge and celebrate its beauty” (251). These pools and the journey he swims symbolize the passing of time and the deterioration of his health. He began his journey feeling as though he was young and strong, “he seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth” (250). He seems to be very content with his life and his friendships. As he was swimming in his own pool the character soaked in the moment “the heat of the sun, the intenseness of his pleasure” (250). But, as Neddy begins his journey swimming from pool to pool he starts to become weak “his arms were lame.
His legs felt rubbery and ached at the joints” (254). Neddy also felt depressed and saw the water as being “dark” (254). Time had passed as Neddy swam from pool to pool and as he visited and spoke with friends they were sorry for him. He arrived to Mrs. Halloran’s pool and she spoke of his “misfortune” (254). He could not remember selling his house or his children’s trouble and thought “he was losing his memory” (254). When he arrived back home as he “staggered with fatigue” (256) the lights were dimmed and no one was home, his house was empty. Neddy had named the chain of pools the “Lucinda River,” which was his way of expressing his long and reliable marriage. Even though ironically, his wife had left while on his journey on the Lucinda River. Neddy faces the consequences of his actions and harsh reality of the passing years for the first time. He ignored invitations and neglected his family and friends even before the journey took place and is left with the realization of his decisions.