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Alynah Ratansi

CPW
12/7/15
Romano/ McGee
The Swimming Pool
The most important influence on ones childhood is the amount of attention
received. The memories you create during your childhood are the ones you tend to
remember throughout your lifetime. The excerpt from Elizabeth Strouts The
Swimming Pool reveals how much the narrator cherishes the time she spends with
her father. Every opportunity she is given to spend time with her father she
appreciates and doesnt take advantage of it.
The people you share your childhood memories with will have a significant
role in your in your life. In this passage, the author displays the use of
characterization to describe an individual. Characterization is the process by which
a writer reveals the personality of a character. Throughout the passage the narrator
discusses the loving relationship she shares with her father and how much she
values the time they spend with each other. The narrator says, While I had asked
my father to come to the pool to watch the dress rehearsal, I was afraid to take the
actual test in front of him. It was not his displeasure I feared if I failed (Strout, Line
13-14). If the narrator were to fail in front of her father she wouldve felt an
unbearable level of shame, therefore she took the swim test after he had left to
avoid that feeling. Even if she had failed in front of her father, she knows he would
still be there to support her. The narrator believes, He would have shrugged and
told me to try again another day (Strout, Line 16). Even after failing, her father
would still be there and that encouraged her to not give up. This demonstrates that

her father is considerate and amiable as he is trying to boost her spirit and
supporting her interests.
The narrator briefly talks about how she loves the university swimming pool;
she expresses, The pool was not far from my fathers office, and at four oclock, in
order to avoid crossing the main street, which included corners of busy traffic, I
would take a path around behind the dairy barn, under a bridge by the railroad
tracks, and arrive at my fathers office dripping wet. If he still had work to do I would
play on the front lawn out front, trying out my cartwheels, or trying to whistle
through a blade of grass, or looking for a four-leaf clover, which I dont believe I ever
found (Strout, Lines 56-62). The narrator enjoyed the fact that the university
swimming pool was not too far from her fathers office. After swim practice she
would immediately go to his office to see her father. Even if her father was still
working she would wait for him until he was done. This reveals that the narrator is
loving and eager to spend time with her father. Towards the end of the passage the
narrator explains, There are times when we need to remember the feelings of joy
and hope. And I think it is not only what we look at life once, in childhood that
determines our memories, but who, in that childhood, looks at us (Strout, Lines 8082). The narrator is trying to emphasis that the people that are part of your
childhood are very valuable as they will always play a huge role in your life. The
little things, which we assumed werent important during our childhood are what we
now consider very meaningful.
In conclusion, throughout the excerpt the narrator has highlighted the idea
that the people in ones childhood are the ones who greatly affect you.
Characterization is displayed in the passage to convey the personality of the

narrator and her father. The narrator and her father have shared a deep connection
and the memories from her childhood have been embedded into her brain.