River Runs Through It Essay, Research Paper
Analytical vs. Factual
A River Runs Through It, by Norman MacLean, is totally unlike most autobiographies. Most autobiographies are similar to excerpts form an encyclopedia. They are factual and straightforward, but that is all that they are. They do not possess a depth. Norman MacLean makes his autobiography unlike most autobiographies, which focus on what happened in the life of the individual, in that he makes it a kind of analysis of his life.
The book, A River Runs Through It, is very different from most autobiographies. It is set in Montana when Norman was a child. He talks a lot about fishing and how there is no clear line between fly-fishing and religion in his family. His father is a minister at the time, so that means that fly-fishing is very important in their lives. Then the book skips thirty years into the future. Norman is married and lives in Wolf Creek, and Paul is not married and is a reporter in Helena, but fly-fishing somehow makes its way into the picture. Norman visits Paul every now and then, and they always end up fishing. When Norman visits Paul this time, he asks his brother if Neal, Norman s brother-in-law, can fish with them. Because this event is very respected, Paul is very reluctant to let an outsider fish with them. Fishing, for this family, is a way for them to be at one with the earth and a way for them to deal with their problems. Paul knows this as well as Norman knows this, and they do not want Neal to fish with them. In doing this, Norman is starting to analyze their bond with fishing. He knows that fishing is a way for them to deal with their problems. At the end of the book, after Paul dies, Norman is still fishing. He says, Eventually all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. (104 MacLean) This line puts so much emphasis on the importance of fishing. It shows how important the waters are to Norman, and it analyzes his whole life. This book is very much unlike most autobiographies in the way it is so analytical.
A River Runs Through It is so different from most autobiographies. It is written like a deep story is written because it has a meaning. The reason they fish is to get away from the worries of the world, and Norman says this numerous times at different ages. Norman writes this book very complex and deep.