Religion and Fly-Fishing in "A River Runs Through It" Book Review by scribbler

Religion and Fly-Fishing in "A River Runs Through It"
An analysis of the themes of religion and fly-fishing in the novella "A River Runs Through It" by Norman Maclean.
# 153059 | 1,369 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on May 02, 2013 in Literature (American)

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The paper discusses how just about everything Norman Maclean's family does in "A River Runs Through It" somehow relates to fly fishing. The paper looks at the theme of religion and points out that the author uses religious terms, like "commandment" when talking about fishing. The paper also highlights the theme of love, of which little is actually shown in the book, but discusses how Norman's father supports his sons, even though he might not agree with their actions, and that shows a great deal of love.

From the Paper:

"The short story "A Rivers Runs Through It" tells the story of the Maclean family in the 1920s. It opens with the line, "In our family, there was no clean line between religion and fly fishing" (Maclean 1). The author is quick to note that fly-fishing was not an entirely enjoyable activity, because is father was very rigid in his approach to the pastime. he writes, "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" (Maclean 2). The father sees it more like a religion than an enjoyable pastime, and because of that, he has strict rules about how the family perform the fishing. The two brothers become good fishermen, but it is not always as enjoyable as it could be. There is a kind of grace found in the art of fishing, and Maclean always linked that back to the foundation of religion in his family. An author writes, "It was actually some years before that Maclean had laid the groundwork for his linkage of family, shared recreation and religion. In his first two stories, he explored how working together can also be a catalyst for self-discovery and community building" (Dooley "Work Friendship")."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Butler, Douglas R. "Norman Maclean's 'A River Runs Through It': Word, Water, and Text." Critique 33.4 (1992): 263-273.
  • Dooley, Patrick K. "The Prodigal Son Parable and Maclean's A River Runs through It." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 58.2 (2005): 165+.
  • Dooley, Patrick K. "Work, Friendship and Community: Norman Maclean's A River Runs through It and Other Stories and Josiah Royce's the Philosophy of Loyalty." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 53.4 (2001): 287+.
  • Ford, James E. "When Life Becomes Literature: The Neo-Aristotelian Poetics of Norman Maclean's 'A River Runs through It'." Studies in Short Fiction 30.4 (1993): 525+.
  • Maclean, Norman. A River Runs Through It and Other Stories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1976.

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APA Format

Religion and Fly-Fishing in "A River Runs Through It" (2013, May 02) Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Religion and Fly-Fishing in "A River Runs Through It"" 02 May 2013. Web. 16 January. 2021. <>