River Runs Through It Study Questions
Paul and Norman are similar yet different at the same time. For instance Paul and Norman are both dare devils yet Paul seems to be the instigator. For example when they were on the river everyone else was chickening out Paul never backed down and ended getting his brother to go with him. Paul hardly hesitates when it comes to risks unlike Norman who seems to think it over a bit more before accepting and going through with it. They both also enjoy fly fishing.
Paul is creative and does not like sticking to tradition instead he makes his own form on how to fly fish. Norman follows his father’s form and the “proper” way to fly fish. 2. A. Paul Maclean’s life is similar to the Greek mythology Icarus and the story of the Prodigal Son. To start Paul life somewhat relates to the story of Icarus because Icarus tried to escape by flying out of Crete even though everyone told him not to because if he got too close to the sun he would crash, which eventually occurred and he fell to his death.
Paul did somewhat the same thing but instead of flying his was gambling and drinking. Paul had a gambling problem as well as a drinking problem and kept going to the part of town notorious for gambling. Even when he was head over heels in debt he continued to try and get in, worst of all when he played he was usually drunk or had alcohol in his system which they say u should never gamble if you have had too much to drink because it can escalate into a big problem. Even though his family attempted to stop him many times he refused and later he went back and it is believed he was beat to death.
Paul’s life is also similar to the story of the Prodigal Son because the Prodigal son leaves his family to go to different places and wastes his money in his wild living. Paul did the same by going and gambling off all his money. At the end the prodigal son came back to his father and his father accepted him back. Unlike the Prodigal Son Paul does not come back to his father but ends up dying because of his problem with gambling. All three of the stories essentially portraying not to get caught with the fun in life because if one does they will die or have a huge downfall from power.
The environment the boys grew up affects them in different ways. Growing up the boys were taught how to properly fly fish and how one must respect the art behind fly fishing before one can catch a fish. Fly fishing is very important to them because it is an escape from reality. The river is one place where they can all be family and something they all love. Paul loves the river and fly fishing because it gets him away from the world and helps him see the simple things in life. for Norman it is the one thing he that reminds him of Montana and his family.
The environment of growing up under a priest helped Norman get a better education but for Paul it made him seek more of a defiant man. They grew up in a tough era, shown by how both the boys love fighting and boxing. 4. Prohibition lasted from the early 1920s till 1933 where basically everyone drank in private. Prohibition represents a rebellious era. Paul and Norman are both rebellious as well. Paul shows his rebel side through gambling and drinking while Norman shows his rebellious side by writing and going after Jessie Burns.
They both also rebel by sneaking out in the middle of the night to go hang out with friends and go down the river. 5. Racism has an impact on the film mainly through racism towards the Indians. The Racism is most known when Paul goes to the speak easy in town and the man at the door hesitates to let Paul in because he is bringing an Indian lady with him. After they enter everyone stares at her as if she was a criminal, the waitress goes as far as to bypass her when getting the orders of drinks. I believe this racism has an effect on Paul as well by seeing how horrible the Indians are treated he drinks it all away.
Norman does not always completely understand Paul and why he does what he does but regardless he still loves his brother. When he says “we can love completely without complete understanding” he is saying that even though his brother and he think differently he will still love him. Norman does not understand why his brother keeps going back to gamble even though he is not allowed in the facility anymore. Even though Norman does not support his brothers gambling he understands and lets he is. At the end they will always be brothers and that love will always be there regardless if one does something wrong.