Gus in James Duncan's The River Why Essay

Gus in James Duncan's The River Why Essay

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Gus in James Duncan's The River Why


James Duncan’s book entitled, The River Why, focuses around the main character, Gus, and how he changes throughout the book. In this book Gus is discovering what life really is and that the whole world does not revolve around fishing. After moving out of his erratic house he spends all of his time fishing at his remote cabin, but this leaves him unhappy and a little insane. He embarks on a search for him self and for his own beliefs. Duncan changes Gus throughout the book, making Gus realize that there are more important things to life than fishing, and these things can lead to a happy fulfilled life, which in turn will help Gus enjoy life and fishing more. Duncan introduces a character, Eddy, who significantly changes Gus’s views on what he needs in his life and she gives Gus a sense of motivation or inspiration. Eddy changes Gus by their first encounter with each other, when Eddy instills in Gus a need to fulfill his life and when they meet up again, completing his need. Fishing is Gus’s first passion but he loses it after he puts all of himself into it, and when Eddy comes into his picture Gus feels a need to have more in his life, like love. Through finding love he re-finds his passion for fishing and learns more about himself. When Eddy and Gus finally get together, he sees this “equilibrium” between his old passion, fishing, and his new one, Eddy. Duncan’s use of Eddy gives Gus a new found sense of purpose and to have a more fulfilled life is a critical step in Gus’s development as a character. This is why Eddy is the most important character to this book, because she gives Gus inspiration to find himself.

On their first encounter with one another Gus is compelled by her differences in dress, techniques and gear. After she leaves, Gus feels a “need” to fulfill his empty life. Finally when she shows back up in his life, Gus then has everything he could ever ask for: a beautiful woman who loves to fish, just like him. He explains how he first sees Eddy on page 151 as: “A barefoot girl. A full-grown one. One who wore the top tenth or so of what had long ago been a pair of blue jeans. One who wore a short, skin-tight, sleeveless sky-colored t-shirt through …which revealed the shape of the…”
After sneaking his way up to the tree where she sat “motionless”, not noticing Gus, his attention is diverted, if not comp...


... middle of paper ...


...fter hearing stories of Gus the great fisherman. Eddy sees more in Gus than she thought she would, so she decides to come back the next day to talk. The next day she gives Gus a plan that he must follow of catching a fish with her techniques. He finds his equilibrium on page 274 “Equilibrium derived from a kind of inner balance: it transmitted itself from the soul to the mind, and from the mind to the body, and when a man possessed of it put his hand to an art or craft he was capable of unheard of feats.” Gus’s equilibrium was his love for Eddy and he states on the same page “Why shouldn’t love be my Equilibrium? Why shouldn’t love be the forceless force running through the wound and into the fish? Couldn’t love create that sacred balance? Wouldn’t love dissolve all stress?”     Eddy also changes as person because she stays longer and longer with Gus, doing all sorts of things together, eventually marrying Gus.

They both find their equilibrium in each other. Gus re-finds his fishing passion through Eddy, but looks on everything in a whole different way. Eddy gave Gus motivation to know himself and he fulfills the emptiness. He got the two loves of his life: fishing and Eddy.

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