Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason
(Insert Title) In “Shiloh,” by Bobbie Ann Mason, the reader is able to glimpse the beginning of the end of a marriage. Mason allows the audience to see the different strings unravel as the character’s separates from each other, emotionally, mentally and physically. In “Shiloh,” a woman’s husband, Leroy, has been in an accident and is no longer able to continue with his work of truck driving. The woman, Norma Jean, is unable to cope with her husband being home all of the time and begins to find ways to get away from him and her overbearing mother, Mabel. Throughout the story we see Leroy’s struggle to stay with his wife and Norma Jean’s struggle to break away from her husband. As Leroy and Norma’s marriage continues to drift apart, Mabel
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As Norma Jean separates from her husband, she is unable to understand him. Leroy discusses building a log cabin with his wife. To him, the log cabin symbolizes a happy home. He envisions the logs fitting together perfectly like he hopes he and his wife will be. However, Norma Jean no longer understands his vision. She tells him that she does not want to live in a log cabin. Norma Jean’s rejection of her husband’s dream symbolizes her rejection of him. She has humored him all of these years and now she realizes that she no longer wants what he wants. Norma Jean’s disconnect from her husband can also be seen when Leroy says, “As he and Norma Jean work together at the kitchen table, Leroy has the hopeful thought that they are sharing something, but he knows he is a fool to think this. Norma Jean is miles away” (Mason 576). Norma Jean is preparing to leave her husband and is no longer interested in him; her head is filled with ideas for her new life. “Norma Jean has quit smoking altogether” (Mason 577). Now that Norma Jean has stopped smoking marijuana, she has severed all ties with her husband. Smoking was the last thing they shared and now that is gone.
Once Norma Jean and Leroy reach Shiloh, the reader knows this relationship is over. Norma Jean is the primary blame for the failure of their marriage. While Leroy tried to keep his marriage together, Norma Jean was pulling away from him. He never wanted to end his marriage and it was