The Swimmer


John Cheever

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Mrs. Bunker Character Analysis

Mrs. Bunker is another of Neddy’s neighbors. She’s hosting a party as Neddy arrives, and she’s surprised to see him, as Lucinda had previously called to tell her they weren’t coming. Mrs. Bunker speaks with hyperbolic insincerity, telling Neddy, “When Lucinda said that you couldn’t come I thought I’d die.” Although Neddy seems indifferent to Mrs. Bunker, he enjoys the party, as it’s another occasion for him to get a drink.

Mrs. Bunker Quotes in The Swimmer

The The Swimmer quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Bunker or refer to Mrs. Bunker . 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

As soon as Enid Bunker saw him she began to scream: “Oh, look who’s here! What a marvelous surprise! When Lucinda said that you couldn’t come I thought I’d die.” She made her way to him through the crowd, and when they had finished kissing she led him to the bar, a progress that was slowed by the fact that he stopped to kiss eight or ten other women and shake the hands of as many men.

Related Characters: Neddy Merrill (speaker), Mrs. Bunker
Page Number: 605
Explanation and Analysis:

He took a shower, washed his feet in a cloudy and bitter solution, and made his way to the edge of the water. It stank of chlorine and looked to him like a sink. A pair of lifeguards in a pair of towers blew police whistles at what seemed to be regular intervals and abused the swimmers through a public address system. Neddy remembered the sapphire water at the Bunkers’ with longing and thought that he might contaminate himself—damage his own prosperousness and charm —by swimming in this murk, but he reminded himself that he was an explorer, a pilgrim, and that this was merely a stagnant bend in the Lucinda River.

Related Characters: Neddy Merrill (speaker), Mrs. Bunker
Related Symbols: Swimming Pools
Page Number: 608
Explanation and Analysis:
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Mrs. Bunker Character Timeline in The Swimmer

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Bunker 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
Delusion and Repression Theme Icon
...a few other pools regardless of whether the owners are home or not. Reaching the Bunkers’ backyard, he finds they’re having a party. Neddy is buoyed by the sight and rhapsodizes... (full context)
Suburban Alienation Theme Icon
Mrs. Bunker greets him and insists that Neddy’s arrival is a “marvelous surprise” and that she’d “die”... (full context)