Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It Essay

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A Hobby or a Way of Life

Religion and tradition are two ways that families come together. However in Norman Maclean’s novella, A River Runs Through It, the Maclean family’s devotion to their Presbyterian religion and their tradition of fly-fishing is what undeniably brought the family together. Under the father’s strict Presbyterian values, his sons, Norman and Paul used fly-fishing as the link that brought them closer together and helped them bond with their father on a different level. The family’s hobby of fly-fishing was started just for fun. It was a sport that was taken up every Sunday after church to take their minds off of the worries in life. After a while, going fly-fishing every Sunday turned into a tradition and soon a …show more content…

The only thing that even came close to the importance of church was fly-fishing. When he went fishing with his sons, this activity made him feel like he was given the opportunity to refresh his soul. In fact, the sport appeared to be like a ritual that almost became part of the family’s religion. He believed that fishing in the river was a parallel to life and that it was an opportunity to bring him closer to his sons. Reverend Maclean would give the two boys strict lessons and would show them the “right and wrong” ways to fly fish. He would even make them practice casting with a metronome. To him this technique was seen as a metaphor for fishing being compared to God’s rhythm. Paul, the youngest son, had always displayed his traits of independence and self-gratification through his acts of rebellion and selfishness. He would gamble, drink, and engage himself in all kinds of trouble. Instead of casting to the four-note rhythm that his father would always preach about, Paul seemed to just move into a world containing a natural rhythm of his own. In a sense, one could say that Paul marched to the beat of his own drum. To Paul, fly-fishing was a more than just a hobby; it was a symbol of his ability to escape from the real world into a blissful world of his own. Paul was always considered to be the expert fisher out of the two sons, since his discipline was clearly portrayed through fishing and fishing only. Like Norman, Paul would never arrive late to

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