The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant Summary

"The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant" is a short story by W.D. Wetherell in which the narrator asks his neighbor, Sheila Mant, on a date.

  • The narrator asks his neighbor Sheila Mant on a date. He is overjoyed when she says yes.

  • Sheila is disappointed to discover that their date will take place on the narrator's boat. The narrator tries to explain his love of fishing, but Sheila is uninterested.

  • During the date, the narrator hooks a huge bass. He must choose whether to reel in the bass or stay in Sheila's good graces. He chooses Sheila, but later regrets the choice.

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Last Updated on August 21, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 357

W. D. Wetherell’s short story “The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant” was awarded the 1983 PEN Syndicated Fiction Prize and was collected in his 1985 award-winning The Man Who Loved Levittown. This coming-of-age short story is a perennial favorite of many English teachers because of the strong narrative as well as the quintessential challenge of a young teen finding his own voice. Wetherell is best known for his short stories and memoirs, which are often set on or near his favorite New England rivers. “The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant” is no exception.

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One of the main themes of this story is that of sacrifice. The narrator, who is not given a name, is fourteen years old and in love with an older woman—his sixteen-year-old neighbor, Sheila Mant. He has a serious crush on her and is enthralled when she accepts his offer of a date. Sheila, however, is not so enchanted when the young teen suggests that they go on the date via the narrator’s boat. The narrator convinces Sheila that the boat is safe, but he is unable to persuade her to...

(The entire section contains 357 words.)

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