The Swimmer

by

John Cheever

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Mrs. Biswanger Character Analysis

Mrs. Biswanger, one of Neddy’s neighbors, is having a party as Neddy arrives in her backyard. For years, she has invited Neddy and Lucinda to dinner regularly, but they have turned her down every time because her parties consist of boring professionals who talk constantly about “the price of things.” While Neddy believes that he will be welcomed at the Biswangers’ party, Mrs. Biswanger insults Neddy in a way that shows she was clearly hurt by his refusal to attend her previous events. This episode illustrates Neddy’s self-absorption, as he assumed he could continue to be respected and admired despite his poor treatment of others.
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Mrs. Biswanger Character Timeline in The Swimmer

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Biswanger appears in The Swimmer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Swimmer
The Natural vs. The Artificial Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Helen points Neddy towards the Biswangers for a drink, as they’re having a party. Neddy reluctantly decides to “get wet,” swimming... (full context)
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Neddy describes his history with the Biswangers, whom he describes as boring, unpleasant people who talk endlessly about the “price of things.”... (full context)
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Neddy approaches the house, expecting to be welcomed, but Mrs. Biswanger is clearly hurt and insulted by his presence. She calls him a “gate crasher” and... (full context)