The River Why

As any reader of The River Why knows, David James Duncan is a master of the art of writing about fishing–which is also to say life, since the two for him are indelibly linked. In his famous book “The River Why,” Duncan uses fishing as one kind of bait, along with wonderful humor, beautiful writing and memorable characterization, to make a much larger, much more important set of points.

The plot of “The River Why,” isn’t about fishing, or living in harmony with nature; it’s about a young man’s discovering what life really is.

The Perfect Schedule – young Gus’s plan for getting in the absolute maximum number of hours a day fishing – turns out to be a horrible failure. It takes a long time for Gus to realize something is wrong, including a harrowing adventure with a drowned man and some pretty serous sickness. Now it may be – ahem – that fisherpersons are more stubborn or more stupid, but Duncan has Gus discover that there are things more important than fishing, and that those things can lead to still greater things.

And that all of that can make the fishing better.

The River Why Movie

Third, while Duncan and Gus poke immense amounts of fun at it, this really is a re-casting of Izaak Walton’s _The Compleat Fisherman_, although Walton is nearly unreadable and Duncan writes extraordinarily well. This book is also about more or less the same thing as those “witlesses” that Ma brings to grief, although both Gus and the Witlesses would likely deny it.

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One of Duncan’s subtle messages is there, too.

Fourth and last, like a fish taking a fly, when you read this book you will be so dazzled by the gorgeous fly of Duncan’s humor, writing and characterization that you will miss the hook and line of his real message until, like Gus, the line of light has you and you feel that gentle tug in your heart.

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The River Why. (2019, Dec 05). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/paper-on-characters-river-david-james-duncan/

The River Why
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