What really sparks Lion's conscious of his honest stupidity is Eliane. When Lion was frustrated, he went to the pool and swam laps. At the beginning, Eliane swam with him. But after is when she confronts Lion. Lion is all about hating Neal Anderson, but once Elaine figures out that (1.) Lion will probably never forgive Neal. (2.) Neal really is dying and (3.) Lion almost killed Elaine and their friends, she loses it. Lion has been playing the victim card ever since his family died, and Elaine has created this special bubble of immunity around him. He is not immune to everything. What Lion refuses to acknowledge is that he almost killed some of his friends, because he is playing the victim card. Elaine makes a good point saying that what happened to Lion, could've been anyone, and different people would have handled this situation differently. Even though everyone would react differently if they were in Lion's situation, most people would try to forgive Neal. The fact that Neal has to live with the fact that he killed someone's entire family is unimaginable, but in order for both of them to begin the healing, forgiveness is necessary, and maybe a punch in the stomach by Elaine.
Throughout the short story, although not directly mentioned, Lion holds a huge grudge against Neal, but what he doesn't realize is that he is wasting time doing that. Lion lost his family, but yet wants to live the best life he can, in honor of them, but he is unable to because of the grudge that he holds towards Neal. At the end of the story, we can infer that the grudge that Lion holds against Nick starts to lift. The quote above mentions to laugh when you can. Lion's little brother didn't get to laugh as much, he was denied the opportunity to live a full life. With this bitterness Lion has with Neal, Lion is denying his opportunity of living a full life. He can't change that his family is dead. But what he can change is the grudge against Neal. First, by forgiving.
It is apparent that boating has a strong sense of symbolism throughout the story. Before his family was killed, boating and fishing was something that both Lion and his father enjoyed. After the accident, it held a much lesser significance. But because of this activity, Lion is able to forgive Neal. The theme of friends and forgiveness shows through boating. If it wasn't through this activity, it would have been much harder for Lion to forgive Neal. Although boating and fishing isn't really talked about throughout the book, the significance is proven in the title. Because of boating and fishing, Lion was able to heal and forgive Neal.
When Neal's mom calls, begging for Lion's forgiveness, he doesn't realize that not only is Neal's mom wants his forgiveness to help Neal himself, but also to help Lion. Later in the story, we can also tell that Elaine wants Lion to forgive Neal. Because Lion is so stubborn, he thinks that Neal would never deserve forgiveness. Ever. After calls form Mrs. Anderson and a punch in the stomach from Elaine, Lion comes to the conclusion that the only way to start healing, is to forgive Neal. Neal at the time is struggling with drugs and many other things, especially knowing that he killed someone's family. Lion himself is as well. Throughout the story, Lion can't pinpoint what is wrong, other than that his family is dead, after he forgives Neal, he then knows that is what he really needed.
Neal and Lion were good friends, until the accident. One theme that reoccurs throughout this story is the importance of friendship. When Lion finally notices Neal for the first time, he notices how bad he looks. Thin, near-death in a way, but yet, Lion still treats him horribly. At the beginning of the story, it mentions that Neal and Lion were good friends, but after the crash, that evidently fell apart. Lion refuses to recognize the fact that he needs Neal in his life. Yes, he has Elaine, who has done so much for him, but he is missing out on his other good friend, Neal. In an article by Psychology Central, it states that "The causes of modern social problems, from divorce to homelessness and obesity, are often thought to be based in areas such as poverty, stress or unhappiness. But researchers suggest we are overlooking something crucial: friendship. It would appear that our society is ignoring its importance." Lion is ignoring the fact that he is no longer friends with Neal. This not only hurts Lion, but Neal as well. When Mrs. Anderson calls, Lion begins to realize the importance of friendship, and fully knows it when Elaine punches him.
In 'Goin Fishin' one prominent idea is friendship gets us through tough times. Just like Elaine created a bubble for Lion, and was there for him when no one else was. Because of her, Lion begins to realize that Elaine really was there for him. Just like in the 'Friends' theme song, 'I'll be there for you', Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Joey, and Ross, were all there for each other. Even though Rachel had many more good friends than Lion did, Elaine was still there for him, and that is all that matters.