As George Martin states “Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it.” This is similar to Neddy Merril in “The Swimmer by John Cheever because he doesn’t want to admit that his misfortunes are true. “The Swimmer”, is about a guy named Neddy Merrill. He decides to get to his house by swimming from pool to pool. He swims to his friends’ pools and strangers’ pools uninvited. At every pool he goes to he tries to ask if he can have a drink. He swims by many other pools then he arrives at his house all tired and weak, realizing that his house is empty and that his family is gone. He does not realize that he denies everything throughout his journey. In the story “The Swimmer” the theme is that addiction can lead people to denial. Ned’s first denial is about his family. When he swims by the Halloran’s pool. In the story that the narrator states,
As he was pulling himself out of the water he heard Mrs. Halloran say, “We’ve been terribly sorry to hear about all your misfortunes, Neddy.” “My misfortunes?” Ned asked. “I don’t know what you mean.” “Why we heard that you’d sold the house and that your poor children…” “I don’t recall having sold the house,” Ned said, “and the girls are at home.” (185).
Ned denies that he sold the house and that his family moved because he does not know that it is true. He does not want it to be true, so he tries not to acknowledge the fact that they are gone. He could have just told Mrs. Halloran that he wasn’t aware about what she had heard. He doesn’t realize that time has passed by quickly even though he feels like it only has been two hours that he has been out swimming. He has been so caught up on his journey of swimming from pool to pool to his house that he does not want to face reality that he is alone as a result of his addiction. Ned’s second denial is about himself. He thinks of himself as a young man. He does not want to admit that he is not what he thinks he is. The narrator says, “He was a slender man- he seemed to have the especial slenderness of youth” (180). He only wants to know of what he thinks about himself and not how other people have described him. The narrator states “He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure” (180). He won’t accept what other people have described him as because he feels like he is an important person and that everyone is wrong in what they have said about him. They see him as a crazy person. He denies everything because of his addiction. Ned’s third and final denial is his drinking problem. He doesn’t think that he drinks a lot. At the beginning of the story, everyone is complaining that they are drinking a lot. They know that they are drinking too much, so they decide to stop. However Ned keeps drinking and does not know his limits. The narrator says, “After swimming the pool he got himself a glass and poured a drink. It was his fourth or fifth drink and he had swum nearly half the length of the Lucinda River” (182). He is evidently an alcoholic without caring that he is drinking too much, especially when he is swimming on his journey. He doesn’t see that it is bad for him. He does not know when to say no to drinking alcohol. Additionally he relies on alcohol to live. As the narrator says, “He