Runs Through It By Norman Maclean Essay, Research Paper
The two books Daddy by Danielle Steele and A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean are both stories where the main characters are male. The books deal with how a man reacts when he is presented with different situations. Oliver, the main character from Daddy, and Norman the main character from A River Runs Through It, are both presented with different situations that bring out their prevailing qualities. The two men have both similar and different traits. The time periods and society that they live in have totally shaped the way Norman and Oliver react when presented with certain qualities however they still have the same masculine traits.
The time period in witch both men are accustomed to are very different. Norman lives in the early 1900?s when it was still the time of men had their place working and women had their place in the kitchen. While Oliver is in the time setting of around the late 1980?s to the early 1990?s in a time when women are equal to men. The time periods that the two characters live in have changed their personalities. If they were to switch places they would more than likely have reversed personalities.
Norman is living in the early 1900?s when the man was expected to be the strong one in the any situation. Norman does this stereotype justice he is in his early to mid 20?s and an upstanding citizen. Norman is faced with the problem of facing his brother?s death. His brother?s death is not a situation that is confined to this time period it is just handled differently because of this time period. Norman handles the situation by not mentioning it very often and acting like it didn?t happen. Whereas if Norman was living in a more modern time period he may be more apt to talking about his brother?s death
Oliver is a middle aged advertisement agent in the 1990?s, a time when men are not depended on so much to be the tough guy and people are more open-minded to the different things. Oliver is presented with a lot of the problems that are common to the 90?s. He is also a very decent guy that is presented with some of the hardships of life, but unlike Norman Oliver is not ashamed of his problems because they are more acceptable in the time that he is living. He is faced with being a single parent to a teenage son who also has his own life and child. Oliver does not try to hide from this problem or try to hide it. Instead he deals with it even if his father helps him. He also realizes that he cannot solve all his problems and everyone else?s problems. Oliver is partially a product of his time. If he had lived in the same time period as Norman he probably would have handled the problem more discreetly, or the problem may have never arisen at all due to different moral values of the time.
The time that the two men lived in shaped their personalities and the way that they handled situations. The time periods also provided an opportunity for the authors of these two stories to set up the certain situations that were presented to the two characters. This is because of different values that people are held to in these two time periods.
There is also the fact that the two men lived in different societies. Norman is a small town boy while Oliver is a big time city slicker. The small town ethics and the big city attitudes have their effect on people, and it is apparent on the two characters. They both have pretty descent moral values but one of the major factors that contribute to their personalities is where they live. Norman is more willing to lend a hand because of the small town attitude. Oliver is more out for himself and his family because that is what you have to do in the big cities.
Norman has lived in a small town all his life and grew up in a typical family setting. He knows practically everyone in town so everywhere he goes there is a familiar face. Norman always tries to do the decent thing. In the story Norman is faced with the responsibility of having to pick up his brother Paul from jail. Paul had struck another person after that person made a remark about his girlfriend being a half-breed. Norman did not have such a bad time picking up his brother, but he felt that the decent thing would be to not mention the incident again. Now if Norman had been brought up in a larger town or city he may not have found his brothers? situation so embarrassing. Also this incident may not have even taken place if it had happened in a larger city due to a more mixed society in the larger cities.
Oliver lives in a large city and works for a big business. Because of more opportunities in the city Oliver is faced with some of his big problems. He is faced with the fact that his wife is leaving him to pursue her own career as a writer. Oliver is a sensitive man so he takes this hard and is not ashamed to show that he is hurting inside. He handles the situation as best ha can and is not ashamed of it. He allows others in his life to be there for him and comfort him. While at the same time he is trying to keep his career on track. This is a problem that is more typical to the city because a woman sees in everyday life what the world has to offer.
The places that these to men live are two totally different places with totally different attitudes. These attitudes have helped to shape the lives of these two men. The city has change Oliver?s life forever and the personality that comes with it. The small town atmosphere has also had its effect on Norman. It has made him more liable to be the upstanding citizen because of the small population and his need for a good reputation. The two different atmospheres have molded these two men and it is apparent in the way that they handle the situations that are associated with the size of their environment.
However many differences these two men are still men. No matter their differences they still have some of the masculine traits. Norman is the older brother who has to take care of everything. Oliver is the head of a household and works to support him and his family. Norman also has a family who he has to please, that is his wife?s family. These two men are both the type of man that will do almost anything to try and bring peace to his home.
Norman has a wife that is very involved with her family and is a very strong willed individual. Her brother from out of town decides to come visit one day and stays for some while. Her brother Neal is about the same age as Norman and looks to him to fit in. The only problem with this is that Norman does not really care for her brother. He even tells her that he doesn?t like her brother. She till is a very convincing lad and persuades Norman to take her brother fishing. So he takes his brother-in-law fishing with him and right away he realizes what a mistake that that was. By the end of the fishing trip Neal ended up drinking himself silly, and fell asleep naked on a beach after sleeping with one of the most promiscuous woman in town. He was so drunk that his skin burned under the sunlight and he did not notice it until he woke up. Norman reluctantly takes responsibility for his brother-in-laws actions and takes him home along with this woman. When he gets him their Norman?s mother-in-law does not want to place the blame on her baby so she tries to make Norman have a guilty conscience. This makes Norman feel bad so he does what any self-respecting guy would have done and left to go with his brother.
Oliver, who is also the typical male on many scales, he is the head of a household and is also the type of man who tries to make his family happy. He is faced wit many small situations after his wife leaves, and he handles the different situations in a manner to witch makes his children more at ease. It?s the small things that Oliver has to face like the fact that his youngest daughter is afraid to sleep by herself so he allows for her t stay in his room. The middle child seems to think that it is Oliver?s fault that her mom left the family. All that Oliver does is to let her have her own ideas about this because he does not want to spoil a daughter?s image of her mother. His oldest son finds refuge in the form of a girl. He is a bit older than the rest of the children so Oliver lets his son be with her and make his own life decisions.
The two characters both have that male need to be in control and they both are to some extent, but there is always someone else who really have the control. It may not be apparent to the characters but none the less it is there. With Norman his wife and his wife?s family inadvertently have control of him by using his love for his wife and need to be a respectable human being. With Oliver his family is in control of him. Although Oliver realizes this to some extent but still needs to deal with it and still feel that he has control.
Throughout these two book the personalities of their main characters shine through and it becomes apparent that these two men are very different but yet much the same. The characters from the two books have different personalities due to their setting in time and also their place in the world, but no matter how different the two men are they are still men and that alone makes them more alike than anything.