Raised by a Presbyterian minister, Norman is steeped in the Christian tradition, and is particularly familiar with the Bible thanks to years of catechism and religious study. His father often reads the New Testament, and seems to continue to wrestle with what it says even after a lifetime devoted to its meaning. Scripture comes to represent, more broadly, the meaning-making act of narration, of setting down words on the page. It is Norman’s father who suggests that Norman write stories so as to understand his past and those he loves. For Norman, even his beloved rivers are a kind of narrative: under a river’s rocks, he says, are words. As particular words that (the Macleans believe) reach us from an all-powerful God, Scripture connects words to truth and meaning. “In the beginning was the Word,” Norman’s father quotes from the New Testament: Norman’s desire to use narrative in order to describe and attempt to understand his brother is anchored in a specifically religious intellectual heritage.
A River Runs Through It
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The timeline below shows where the symbol Scripture appears in A River Runs Through It. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.