Dropping the Bass, Literally

The found poem above represents page three of “The Bass, The River, and Sheila Mant” by W. D. Wetherell shows the Man vs. Nature conflict between the narrator, the protagonist, and the bass. An unfortunate turn of events becomes worse when a bass is hooked onto the narrator’s fishing rod. This bass is the biggest bass that the narrator has ever caught, and he must decide on whether to catch the bass and give up on Sheila, or to hide his love of fishing from Sheila and give up the bass. The secondary conflict between the narrator and the bass is not the main conflict of the story, but it plays a significant part in both propelling the story forward and forcing the protagonist to make a decision. “I had managed to keep the bass in the middle of the river away from the rocks, but it had plenty of room there, and for the first time a chance to exert its full strength.” The bass is in control of the boat, and the narrator is fighting against it, while attempting to not alert Sheila.  The narrator is divided, as his desire of fishing is equal to his desire of Sheila, but choosing one will give up the other.”…the extra strain on the line, the frantic way [the bass] cut back and forth in the water.” Tension builds as more action happens between the narrator and the bass. The addition of the bass in the rising action is crucial to the subsequent events that happen in the plot; the bass represents the narrator’s passion, and Sheila represents his desire beyond reach. The rest of the action leading up to the climax is based entirely on the struggle between the narrator and the bass.