In Norman MacLean's semi-autobiographical book, Norman describes himself and his brother Paul and uses fly fishing to help show the reader certain character traits. Norman and Paul are both disciplined and both love nature. This is shown through their fly fishing, which is an activity they both love and which is done in a methodical and orderly way that their father teaches them. The brothers differ in key ways, as well. Norman is studious and more reserved; Paul is more rebellious and wild. Norman is willing to leave Montana and venture out into the world; Paul is less willing to do so. They are close and love their family. They love to spend time together and with their father, fishing. However, Paul doesn't apply the discipline he has while fishing to his own life outside of the water. His wild ways lead to his downfall. He has a propensity to gamble, drink, and push boundaries, which ultimately leads to his death at a young age.