John Cheever & Suburban Life Essay

Words: 993
Pages: 4

5 April 2006
John Cheever and the Suburban Life The average person from suburban America can be either valiant, pathetic, or both. This is the description of an American suburbanite according to John Cheever, an American novelist and short story writer during the fifties, sixties, and seventies. Cheever, an award winning writer, balances hope, uncertainty, and anxiety in his stories’ characters. In Cheever’s “The Swimmer”, the main character, Neddy Merrill, incorporates this description into his actions. The actions of Neddy Merrill can be compared to those of Francis Weed, the main character of Cheever’s “The Country Husband”. “The Swimmer” and “The Country Husband”, however different the plots of each may be, each analyze the suburban
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Cheever’s positive writing is what made him successful in a time period when dark and dismal things were occurring. One of Cheever’s tools in his writing that made him to popular in his time was his ability to use metaphors. Similar to “The Swimmer”, Cheever also uses metaphors in “The Country Husband”. The metaphor used in “The Country Husband” is thread. James Flora, a critic, analyzes this theory, “For the most part, the memorable lines of ‘The Country Husband’ belong to the narrator. His elegance threads the story, uniting the many scenes” (Flora 102). Thread, which is also used throughout the story, is used by Cheever to “thread” the different parts of the story together. This idea is what makes Cheever a good writer. He is not afraid to attempt to use a metaphor in his suburban stories at the risk of making them too complex. “The Swimmer” and “The Country Husband” are each short stories that depict the suburban life of a man. Through metaphors and his unique style of writing, John Cheever’s short stories can be connected, not only with each other, but also to his own life. While the men of suburbia try and find themselves, Cheever keeps the reader wanting for more. As Neddy Merrill goes on his quest to “swim home”, and Francis Weed attempts to find the meaning of life, Cheever adds flawless elements to his writing to create the perfect stories.