A River Runs Through It story by Norman Maclean Essay
A River Runs Through It
A River Runs Through It story by Norman Maclean is a fascinating story that proved a detailed account of his brother and family. The story has a sad ending when Norman’s brother, Paul is killed in a dark alley. The story’s development is based on the aspect of waters including rivers and oceans that these brothers interacted with. Norman and Paul, who are close together use much of their time in the waters and fishing. In many ways, water is life and leads to loss of life, and this is reflected through the story as Norman and his family depend on it, and other characters are introduced through the fishing arena.
Water turns out to be a significant symbol in the story. In the first instance, Norman and his brother are brought up by their father, John Maclean who is a Presbyterian minister. Their father teaches them the biblical stories, and makes them experts in fly-fishing. Their life revolves around the rivers and the scriptures. This is a clear indication of the intricate relationship between life in water and life in the word. For instance, the rivers flow tirelessly or eternally and do not get worn out. In the same manner, the word of God is like a river to the Christians who will never get tired or lost when they adhere to God’s laws. The aspect of eternal life is well connected to the eternity of waters.
Family is an important aspect that is portrayed throughout the story. The love in Maclean’s family is immense and is seen through the unity the two brothers have for each other. The narrator observes that they were raised in a close-knit family. In addition, their father loved them and ensured he taught his children the art of fishing. It is through this idea of fly-fishing that the bond between the two brothers become strong. For example, through their roles, it is evident that they were different in many aspects but were connected by the waters and fishing. Thus, the role of waters is evident as a way of making relationships last for a long time, and this is the same way that drops of water are bonded together even through the rocky paths. The challenges of life and the complexities brought by the earthly people require togetherness, just like water holds to each other.
Water and religion are closely linked. Through the bible, water and fishing are widely explored and demonstrates the link between the two. Water is the home for creatures such as fishes and also water is used as an introduction to the Christian life through baptism. Thus, water, in this sense, makes people complete, and those who do not adhere to the religious rules and vows made using water are bound to perish. For instance, Paul’s case is unfortunate that he never remains calm and disciplined by the family rules taught by his father; this led to his untimely death.
Waters also hides life’s meaning. Through the life of Norman, it is evident that understanding the rivers flow and the trouts in it was a hard puzzle. In the same breath, understanding what life held for people is difficult and only reveals after one is dead. For example, through writing this story, Norman can learn much about life and the case of his brother’s death.
The presence of water in the story develops other characters and a more significant part of the plot. Through the water aspect of family, religion, love, helplessness, and manliness are amplified. The characters of Norman and his brother Paul are well brought out and represent the complexities of life as well as the complexities that are held in the waters.
Maclean, Norman. A River Runs through It and Other Stories, University of Chicago Press, 2017