The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant

by W. D. Wetherell

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What are the narrator's two conflicting desires in "The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant"? Is his choice believable?

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The narrator of "The Bass, the River, and Sheila Mant" is a 14-year-old boy who has a major crush on his neighbor, the Sheila of the title, who is 16. He asks her out on a date. He also very much enjoys fishing, so he asks her to go fishing with him.

The desire to spend time with a girl and the desire to fish need not necessarily conflict. However, Sheila does not share his enthusiasm. Although she accepts his invitation and they go out, she is not comfortable on his boat. The narrator finds it more challenging to divide his attention than he expected. Even though he hooks a large bass, ultimately his desire to impress an older girl overrides his desire to land he fish, and he lets it go. This choice would probably seem believable to anyone who has ever been an adolescent with a crush.

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