The Swimmer

by

John Cheever

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At the beginning of the story, Lucinda is Neddy Merrill’s wife, but, by the end, she and their four daughters have left him. Neddy collectively names the series of swimming pools he swims “the Lucinda River,” perhaps in an unconscious act of contrition for his failures as a husband and father.

Lucinda Quotes in The Swimmer

The The Swimmer quotes below are all either spoken by Lucinda or refer to Lucinda. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Swimmer published in 2000.
The Swimmer Quotes

He seemed to see, with a cartographer’s eye, that string of swimming pools, that quasi-subterranean stream that curved across the county. He had made a discovery, a contribution to modern geography; he would name the stream Lucinda after his wife. 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.

Related Characters: Neddy Merrill (speaker), Lucinda
Related Symbols: Swimming Pools
Page Number: 603-604
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Swimmer LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Swimmer PDF

Lucinda Character Timeline in The Swimmer

The timeline below shows where the character Lucinda appears in The Swimmer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Swimmer
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
...to birdwatchers to golfers moans about their hangovers, and the Westerhazys—sitting around their pool with Lucinda and Neddy Merrill—note that all of them drank too much wine the night before. (full context)
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...line of pools forms a river in his mind, which he decides to call the “Lucinda river,” after his wife. He fancies himself an explorer beating a path into uncharted territory... (full context)
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
...water is more than a pleasure; it’s his natural condition. Then, he tells his wife Lucinda that he’s swimming home and goes off. (full context)
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
...He savors the beautiful weather and imagines that “friends would line the banks of the Lucinda river” as he swims. (full context)
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
...the sight and rhapsodizes about how “prosperous” the people are on the banks of the Lucinda river. Overhead, a small red airplane is wheeling “with something like the glee of a... (full context)
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
...He’s especially confused because “no one ever drains their pool,” and the interruption in the “Lucinda river” distresses him. (full context)
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
...wet,” swimming Helen’s pool. On his way to the Biswangers, he claims that he and Lucinda want “terribly” to have Helen over again and promises to plan something “very soon.” (full context)
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
...people who talk endlessly about the “price of things.” Mrs. Biswanger routinely invited Neddy and Lucinda to dinner, but they always refused even though they were given plenty of notice. Neddy... (full context)
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
Time Theme Icon
Reaching his house, Neddy sees that it’s dark. He speculates about whether Lucinda and the girls are still at the neighbor’s. The garage doors are locked and covered... (full context)