Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It, excerpt
58 quotes from A River Runs Through It and Other Stories: 'Eventually, all things merge into one, and a tags: brothers, family, people, philosophy, relationships. Start studying A River Runs Through It Pages How did Paul and Norman's father describe the relevance of fly-fishing to religion? All good things- trout as . The brothers don't offer each other help or advice, i.e the vague advice that Paul gave Norman about fly-fishing. Foreshadows Paul and Normans relationship. “A River Runs Through It” is the story of Maclean's family of origin, From their father, Norman and his younger brother Paul receive training tells us a good deal about the brothers and the basis of their relationship, flawed though it is. He did not want any big brother advice or money or help, and in the.
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories Quotes
Their father often energizes himself by reciting his next sermon to them. Active Themes Their father was never an incredibly talented fisherman, but he is graceful. As a Scot and Presbyterian, Norman notes, his father believes that man has fallen from an original state of grace into sin.
For Norman and his father, grace is tied both to the all-powerful divine and to human beauty and virtue. For him, the art of fishing is sacred, rather than fun: As soon as the forward movement of these three elements begins, it has to be reversed so that the fish only sees the life-like fly. Just as humans are naturally weak and unable to access divine knowledge except through grace, so they also fail to reach perfection in the most essential activity involved in fly-fishing. Active Themes In fly-fishing, the four-count rhythm means that first, the line, leader, and fly lift off the water.
They are then thrown into the air, and there needs to be one beat to allow the fly and leader to get behind the line. At the fourth beat, one must powerfully throw the line into the rod and coast to a landing. Here, a musical analogy helps us understand the close relationship between fly-fishing and art in the novel: Paul, who is three years younger than Norman, is already ahead of his brother in fishing-related matters.
Even as a young child, we see that Paul is obsessed with all things fishing. This obsession initially seems innocent enough, even when it is a small boy already wanting to cast bets. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Despite their difference in age, Norman knows even as a young man that Paul will be an expert fly-fisherman.
Always it was to be called a rod.
A River Runs Through It Part 1 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
If someone called it a pole, my father looked at him as a sergeant in the United States Marines would look at a recruit who had just called a rifle a gun. My brother and I would have preferred to start learning how to fish by going out and catching a few, omitting entirely anything difficult or technical in the way of preparation that would take away from the fun. But it wasn't by way of fun that we were introduced to our father's art. If our father had had his say, nobody who did not know how to fish would be allowed to disgrace a fish by catching him.
So you too will have to approach the art Marine and Presbyterian-style, and, if you have never picked up a fly rod before, you will soon find it factually and theologically true that man by nature is a damn mess. The four-and-a-half-ounce thing in silk wrappings that trembles with the underskin motions of the flesh becomes a stick without brains, refusing anything simple that is wanted of it.
All that a rod has to do is lift the line, the leader, and the fly off the water, give them a good toss over the head, and then shoot them forward so they will land in the water without a splash in the following order: Well, until man is redeemed he will always take a fly rod too far back, just as natural man always overswings with an ax or golf club and loses all his power somewhere in the air: When my father said it was an art that ended at two o'clock, he often added, "closer to ten than to two," meaning that the rod should be taken back only slightly farther than overhead straight overhead being twelve o'clock.
Then, since it is natural for man to try to attain power without recovering grace, he whips the line back and forth making it whistle each way, and sometimes even snapping off the fly from the leader, but the power that was going to transport the little fly across the river somehow gets diverted into building a bird's nest of line, leader, and fly that falls out of the air into the water about ten feet in front of the fisherman.
If, though, he pictures the round trip of the line, transparent leader, and fly from the time they leave the water until their return, they are easier to cast. They naturally come off the water heavy line first and in front, and light transparent leader and fly trailing behind.
But, as they pass overhead, they have to have a little beat of time so the light, transparent leader and fly can catch up to the heavy line now starting forward and again fall behind it; otherwise, the line starting on its return trip will collide with the leader and fly still on their way up, and the mess will be the bird's nest that splashes into the water ten feet in front of the fisherman.
Almost the moment, however, that the forward order of line, leader, and fly is reestablished, it has to be reversed, because the fly and transparent leader must be ahead of the heavy line when they settle on the water. If what the fish sees is highly visible line, what the fisherman will see are departing black darts, and he might as well start for the next hole. High overhead, then, on the forward cast at about ten o'clock the fisherman checks again. The four-count rhythm, of course, is functional.
Power comes not from power everywhere, but from knowing where to put it on. So my brother and I learned to cast Presbyterian-style, on a metronome.
It was mother's metronome, which father had taken from the top of the piano in town. She would occasionally peer down to the dock from the front porch of the cabin, wondering nervously whether her metronome could float if it had to. When she became so overwrought that she thumped down the dock to reclaim it, my father would clap out the four-count rhythm with his cupped hands. Eventually, he introduced us to literature on the subject.
Book Group Tackles Norman Maclean’s “A River Runs Through It”
He tried always to say something stylish as he buttoned the glove on his casting hand. He was an Episcopalian and a bait fisherman. However, I knew already that he was going to be a master with a rod. Even at this age he liked to bet on himself against anybody who would fish with him, including me, his older brother.