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Themes of Old Age in Cheevers Short Stories The stories of John Cheever have many similar themes In Cheevers stories O Youth and Beauty and The Swimmer one of the most prevalent themes is the quest for youth The main character in each of these stories experience similar characteristics They are both middle aged men going through life trying to demonstrate to the people around them that they are still the young strong and athletic people they once were In the story O Youth and Beauty Cash Bentley is described as a man of about forty with thinning hair He enjoyed boasting about being known in the town for running hurdling races as a way to impress his friends An old track star he was never aggressive of tiresome about his brilliant past After graduating he was offered a job at the college he had attended but decided to turn it down because he realized that part of his life had ended It is apparent that Cash still takes pride in his college days that is the full reason he is continuing to run these races at parties He is trying to recreate the track star profile he once had Later in the story Cash suffers from a broken leg as a result of running one of his famous races This is one of the first signs of his declining youth He is becoming less able to participate in the activities he could do before with such ease After he returns from the hospital the character begins his decline and enters a mid life crisis situation He had lost weight in the hospital His spirits were low He or everything around him seemed subtly to have changed for the worse Cash is then discovered in the attic looking for his varsity sweater This shows that Cash is trying to hold on with all his might to his youth and his successful college years Cash
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