The Molecules Of Life Essay, Research Paper
The Molecules of Life
In his novella A River Runs Through It, Norman Maclean compares family and life to water. [One of the main themes of the book is Norman's brother Paul and how he relates to water and how life is imitated by the river.] Norman idolizes Paul and his unique relationship with the river.
Maclean writes, “Below him was the multitudinous river, and, where the rock had parted it around him, big-grained vapor rose. The mini-molecules of water left in the wake of his line made momentary loops of gossamer, disappearing so rapidly in the rising big-grained vapor that they had to be retained in memory to be visualized as loops. The spray emanating from him was finer-grained still and enclosed him in a halo of himself. The halo of himself was always there and always disappearing, as if he were candlelight flickering about three inches from himself. The images of himself and his line kept disappearing into the rising vapors of the river, which continually circled to the tops of the cliffs where, after becoming a wreath in the wind, they became rays of sun.” (22). The story A River Runs Through It is told by Norman, and his characterization of Paul is one of reverence. Maclean delivers this message brilliantly through use of diction. In the first sentence of the selected passage, the word “vapor” is used. Later, “spray” is applied. Next, “finer-grained,” then finally the word “halo” is used in relation to Paul. When put them all together, these words have a sound of admiration. While Norman looks up to his brother, he doesn’t have a solidified vision of Paul. “Momentary,” “visualized,” and “flickering” are all words used in this piece that add to the twinkling and gilded image of Paul.
At the end of the story the narrator writes, “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.” (Maclean 104) This passage shows life as the river, and how everything around the river merges together into one. The line “The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time.” shows that life will go on forever as far as we’ll know, and that life imitates itself over and over again. The line “On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops.”, shows that some parts of life will never make it into the mainstream, but will still live on forever.
In the novella A River Runs Through It , by Maclean, in his writing he symbolizes, the water of the river, to life and his relationship with his family. Life, water, and the way he sees his brother are all connected through Maclean’s writing.
Maclean, Norman. A River Runs Through It. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.
A River Runs Through It. Dir. Robert Redford. Columbia Tri Star Video, 1993.
Shadow Casting: The Making of A River Runs Through It. Dir. Dennis Aig, and Andy Froenke. Chip Davis Productions and Sunshine Company, 1992.