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20100401-930 Pynchon and Cheever (Group 1)

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Saved by Stephanie Firth
on April 4, 2010 at 10:18:46 pm


Class began with defining “canon” and watching the movie trailer to “The Swimmer.”  We discussed the major differences between the trailer and the actual story: not hung over enough, emphasis on relationships and too happy.  Then we compared the story to The Odyssey with the idea of someone trying to get home by water.  The party at the Bunkers stood for the sirens, the affair with Shirley was Calypso/Circe, and the Biswangers were Cyclops because Ned was not welcome. 


The story could be an epic or a mock epic.  As an epic, Ned is the man performing a legendary task using his strength.  However, it works as a mock epic because Ned loses his strength: he is unable to jump out of the pool and cannot summon the strength to dive in. 


We also discussed where the story changed from Ned being adventurous to losing his desire to continue.  Two ideas were given: there was only one break in the entire story where Ned goes to cross the road and when the storm comes up and the leaves change color.  Crossing the road was the first negative experience for Ned, however the storm occurred right before that.  The colors changing on the leaves could indicate a change in time, as well.


The class decided there were two ways to explain the story because Cheever does not give an explanation.  Either Ned was crazy and in denial or that was really how things happened—the leaves changed and the temperature became colder.

Word Count: 251




Key Terms

canon-what is decided to be included in the study of literature; "the club" 

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