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A River Runs Through It

In: Novels

Submitted By daisysos
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A River Runs Through It, A Perfect Storm, Urban Legend and Party of Five

Authors and writers of novels and screenplays are often faced with a very difficult task. They must produce a work which will capture a person’s attention and hold it throughout the work. Norman Maclean and Paul Junger do this in their novels A River Runs Through It and A Perfect Storm, respectively. As do the writers and producers of Urban Legend and Party of Five. There are countless ways to keep a person’s interest. But there are two that are prevalent in these four works. These writers use dramatic irony, constant action, and a hint of mystery to captivate a reader or viewers attention.

The thriller Urban Legend is the story of a murderer on a college campus who kills people using various methods in accordance with urban myths. For example, one "urban legend" is a gang initiation ritual. It is said that a gang member will drive without their lights on until somebody flashes them. The person who flashes their lights must now be killed in order to gain acceptance into the gang. While this is not necessarily true, it is a story that many have heard, and the movie is based upon these tales similar to these. Urban Legend is action packed and filled with mystery (never letting on as to who the killer is until the final seconds). By keeping this high level drama throughout the movie, the producers have in effect, kept a viewers attention and let them focus more deeply on the story.

Junger’s A Perfect Storm is also filled with drama and action. This is used as a technique to gain the readers interest. The "perfect storm" that is referred to is a collaboration of a hurricane, cold front, and warm from that all collided together in the Atlantic causing massive destruction. The suspense is kept throughout the book with phrases like "Whatever it is, one thing is for sure. Around midnight on Oct. 28th-when the storm is at its height off Sable Island--something catastrophic happens aboard the Andrea Gail" (Junger 171). A Perfect Storm keeps the reader flipping pages as they wait to see who will survive the awful conditions these men and women were placed under.

Both these works have a hint of mystery to them. Whether it be who the killer is or who will live through the storm, the audience is kept intrigued. There are some slow, but important, parts to Urban Legend and A Perfect Storm. While in many cases it would be easy to lose interest when a story becomes dull, the action and suspense holds an audience to the work. Therefore the writer has successfully created an entertaining piece using mystery, action, and the uneasiness of uncertain futures as functions to keep a reader’s attention.

Dramatic irony is used as the captivating element in Party of Five. Recently, the oldest brother, Charlie, was expecting a baby with a girl he barely knew or even cared to know. Over time they became closer and closer and when the baby was due to arrive, complications arose. Charlie was be faced with the terrible decision of choosing who should live, the one he loves and is just getting to know, or the one he loves and doesn’t know at all. This kind of irony is commonly used in Party of Five, and most often used to catch the viewer offguard. This brings the audience fully back into the show and keeps them interested.

Maclean’s A River Runs Through It uses dramatic irony in his story of the fly fishing minister father and his two fly fishing sons. An example of this use of dramatic irony can be seen when Paul and Norman are fly fishing with their father. Paul has always been the most proficient fly fisher, but this time Norman is catching all teh fish and they are larger, fuller fish than any of the one’s being caught by Paul. Right when you start to believe that Norman has finally out-fished Paul, Paul comes back and ends up catching more than Norman. It is events like these that draw the reader back into the story. Dramatic irony in Party of Five and A River Runs Through It is a very useful technique for gaining and keeping an audience’s attention. With a sudden or strange and unexpected turn of events, a person becomes doubly interested. Sometimes a show or a novel can lose a person’s interest. The use of dramatic irony rejuvenates that interest, bringing with it a stronger intensity and more emotion. These feelings are the utilized as means to focus on the story.

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