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20100401-930 Pynchon and Cheever (Group 1)

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Saved by Samantha Hoffman
on April 5, 2010 at 12:54:49 pm


Class began with defining “canon” and watching the 1968 movie trailer to “The Swimmer.”  We discussed the major differences between the trailer and the actual story:

  • Trailer focused more on the romantic relationships more than the book
  •  In the book he seems like he is loosing his mind and in the trailer he seems happy
  •  In the story he never asks anyone to come along 

Then we compared the story to The Odyssey with the idea of someone trying to get home by water.

  • Frequent stops, sirens, gods acting on Odysseus, Circe, Cyclops
  • Gods acting on Odysseus
  • Exploration/Adventure that took a long time  


We agreed that the story can be classified as a mock epic, as it seems to be poking fun at the traditional epic because Ned's qualities undermine that of a hero's. Ned is the man performing a legendary task using his strength; however, 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. Opinions seemed to vary, for there were a few places that the change would seem plausible. Next, we discussed the two possible endings to the story since Cheever leaves it somewhat unclear. Most likely, either Ned was crazy and in denial or perhaps things really did happen as they were described in the story.


We finished class by briefly discussing the stories that we have read thus far and where they fall in relation of city vs. country. Cheever's "The Swimmer" brings forth the addition of suburbia to the list. 


Word Count: 274




Key Terms

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


Post Modernism-Indeterminate 


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