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Analysis of Never the Same River Twice



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    Karl Lilley Critical Response Explanations of Life Life is something that nobody can expect to be the same everyday because living it the same would be extremely boring and everyone needs excitement. Although, there are days people feel they are living the same routine but usually something occurs to change how one may view the world or certain people. In this essay, “The Same River Twice” by David Quammen, the narrator feels that he can prove the philosopher Heraclitus wrong by thinking that life will not affect no matter how much it changes around him.

    This is a major problem because any change will affect a person whether it is small or huge that one thing could change a person’s life especially as discussed in this essay. The thought of proving the philosopher wrong sounds easy but really in the end the narrator discovers that Heraclitus was actually right because he became more affected by the changes than he actually realized. These changes began to show their affect after he had begun to live in the small town for a stretch of years to himself and fishing everyday in the simple, constant creek.

    But the reason for fishing in the creek was because it was his passion, the reason for life to live on especially a main reason for living in town and also the narrator had two other friends who were married to each other. The problems begin to arise as the seasons begin to change for his friend had many jobs before living in this town and fishing became the most important thing to be accomplished. Although, the female friend only ever wanted to write novels but nobody was being published and as the narrator began to hang out more and more with them there began to be subtle changes throughout their friendship as well as the couple’s marriage.

    As seasons began to change, everything was different especially the river and the marriage ended and his whole world turned with such a change. The narrator helped his friends load up their things and watched them leave to head to the city on their own with a new change of pace to begin a new adventure. This is really when he began to realize what the effect of this had on him because even though he was friends with each of them it was just not the same. Now, after these stretch of years he lives in the city wondering why eople venture off to the small town for an adventure when it is not that great. As a person would see that this whole adventure changed the narrator’s life forever, as he went back thinking that nothing had affected him and that the creek would still have the greatness it once did. Of course, this experience was never the same again and he discovered that what the philosopher Heraclitus had said was actually true because nothing can happen the same way twice.

    As David realized from reading Heraclitus that the saying “You can’t step in the same river twice” really does apply to life because it throws curves and you either swing or let it pass you by and then there is nothing to do. In this literal sense of this phrase it is true that there is no way to step in the same river twice because a river flows and always has different life such as plants and fish. But in a worldly sense, the idea behind it is that anything a person does will be done in a different way each time but it does get accomplished.

    Another way of comparing this is how it is connected to the theory of six degrees which is the idea that any six people probably will know either each other or knows some of the same people which connect them together. This comes from SixDegrees. org from which Kevin Bacon has set up point of view about the theory and the idea does seem crazy, yet plausible because he does point out especially in his acting career how he is connected with so many actors for example, Val Kilmer worked with Tom Cruise and Tom worked with Kevin so he ends up being connected with Val Kilmer.

    This shows in someway or another people are connected to each other and do have some affect on things that occur through out their life. With each decision one person makes, that decision can affect many other people and what the future would hold for them. This especially comes in effect when disasters occur such as the World Trade Center attacks because many people died and many of us know people that worked there or know people who knew people that worked at the Trade Center.

    This chain of reaction caused many to feel the pain with people even if it did not directly affect us at the time but did change our change of view on the world. With all these thoughts, one thing is for sure the next time anyone comes across the saying “You can’t step in the same river twice” will definitely have a new perspective and meaning of what those words actually mean and may realize that any decision one makes now could affect someone and end up changing their life.

    Analysis of Never the Same River Twice. (2018, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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