Custom essays on Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It”
“A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean is a short story which has a lot of equivocal symbols and images. The use of various stylistic devices and a variety of symbols and images help to convey profound, philosophical ideas of the author. In this respect, it is possible to refer to fly fishing as the major symbol which can be easily traced throughout the book and which accompany the main character from his childhood to the present moment. In fact, fly fishing mirrors the human life itself and human beings which the author allegorically presents as fish.
In fact, on analyzing the symbolic meaning of fly fishing, it is important to underline that fly fishing may be interpreted in different ways. First of all, it is possible to view fly fishing as a symbol of unity of man with nature. Main characters of the short story, Norman and Paul, start fly fishing when they are children. They learn to feed themselves by means of fly fishing, which is an important source of income of their family. In such a way, boys learn the richness of nature and, simultaneously, they learn to live in harmony with nature. In such a context, fly fishing may be interpreted as a mediator between man and nature, by means of which the main characters learn to live in balance with nature. custom essays
However, Norman fails to understand the full significance of the unity of man and nature and he abandoned fly fishing for the sake of the civilized world. In stark contrast, Paul has managed to preserve his unity with nature and he remains devoted to fly fishing which is more than a routine job for him. In fact, he rather treats fly fishing as a kind of art in which he achieved perfection.
In this respect, the fate of fly fishing may symbolize the human life at large and the fate of main characters in particular. What is meant here is the fact that fish may be compared to humans who are fleeing down the flow and are unwilling to change their life. So does Paul as he does not want to give up fly fishing and stays devoted to his favorite activity. On the other hand, his life is a challenge to basic norms, values and beliefs of human civilization and, in such a context, he apparently goes against the flow. Instead, Norman seems more obedient to the flow of human life because, even though he cannot keep fly fishing and moves to the city where he gets education and a good job, he still just flees down the flow and cannot resist to stereotypes and basic norms of human society. Therefore, Norman turns to be caught by the civilization exactly like the fish is caught by a fisherman during fly fishing and the cause is that Norman does exactly the same as other people do and such a lifestyle resembles the movement of fish.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that fly fishing has a profound symbolic meaning in “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean. In fact, this is an allegoric symbol of human life and the inability of many human to go against the flow. Such cases are quite exceptional since even Paul, being unwilling to change his life style, flees down the flow, even though he is quite different from all other people. At the same time, fly fishing is a symbol of the unity of man and nature.
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