Think of the archetypal American hero, e.g., Captain John Smith, The Deerslayer,
Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill, Davy Crockett, Jeremiah Johnson, John Wayne,
Clint Eastwood.List the masculine
characteristics and behaviors you associate with these heroes.How
does Paul live by and deviate from these codes of behavior?
List the important women in A River Runs Through It.How
are these women characterized?What
roles do they play in the men’s lives?What
roles do they play in the society?What
is your response to these women?
What destroys Paul?
There are a lot of stories about brother sin the Bible.Cain
and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers.How
is A River Runs Through It a story about brothers, and what “story”
does it tell?
Maclean says:“To my father, the
highest commandment was to do whatever his sons wanted him to do, especially
if it meant to go fishing” (79).Is
this novella a revision of the Prodigal Son story?
Read Hemingway’s short story, “A Big Two-Hearted River”.How
do the two stories compare?
Do you agree with the Reverend's orthodox view of man, "that man by nature
was a mess and had fallen from an original state of grace…all good things
come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy."How
has your experience shaped your definitions of man, grace, and/or art?
Cite the codes of behavior that Norman and Paul live by in Montana.Does
Norman deviate from the codes or re-write them?How
does Neal violate the codes?
In his last "sermon" to Norman, the Reverend claims, "…you can love completely
without complete understanding."Has
this been true in your life?Are
we always our brother's keeper?"What
are the interrelationships between yourself and others?
· A River Runs Through It is filled with great "proverbs."Discuss one that especially inspires you, surprises you, puzzles you, moves or touches you.