A River Runs Through It Essay Topics

Norman MacLean

A River Runs Through It

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A River Runs Through It Essay Topics

1. Do you believe that we are “our brother’s keepers”? Explain in terms of Norman and his father’s beliefs. For example, does Norman’s responsibility extend to Neal? Why or why not? Who are our brothers? Who does Maclean, the author, believe to be our brothers?

2. Throughout the novel, the motif of the river powerfully symbolizes human life. How does this motif account for Paul’s death? What does it mean that he is a master fly fisherman? Explain his talents and problems in terms of the symbols of fly fishing and the river.

3. What are the similarities and differences between Norman and Jessie’s family situations? How do they handle them? What is Norman and Jessie’s relationship like?

4. Why is Norman “haunted by waters” (104)? Explain. You must use at least three characters to help explicate your answer. Some suggestions: Rev. Maclean, Jessie, Paul,…

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