Shiloh short story full text. Shiloh: Themes 2022-10-24
Shiloh short story full text Rating:
Shiloh is a short story written by Bobbie Ann Mason. The story centers around a young couple, Leroy and Norma Jean Moffitt, who are trying to navigate the challenges of their marriage in rural Kentucky.
Leroy is a truck driver who is often away from home for long stretches of time, leaving Norma Jean to manage their household and take care of their young son, Marty. Norma Jean is unhappy with this arrangement and longs for the companionship and intimacy that Leroy's absence denies her.
One day, while Leroy is away on a long haul, Norma Jean discovers that he has been unfaithful to her. She is devastated by this betrayal and decides to leave him, taking Marty with her to her parents' house.
As Norma Jean tries to come to terms with the end of her marriage, she begins to realize that her relationship with Leroy was not as perfect as she had thought. She recalls instances of his verbal and emotional abuse, and realizes that she had been putting up with this treatment for far too long.
At the same time, Leroy is struggling with his own feelings of guilt and regret over his infidelity. He is desperate to win Norma Jean back and makes a number of attempts to reconcile with her, including bringing her flowers and offering to take her out for a fancy dinner.
However, Norma Jean remains firm in her decision to leave Leroy and move on with her life. She finds strength in the support of her family and friends, and begins to rebuild her confidence and independence.
In the end, Norma Jean and Leroy are able to come to a peaceful resolution of their issues, and both are able to move forward with their lives, though in separate directions.
Shiloh is a poignant and thought-provoking story that explores the complexities of relationships and the challenges of love and forgiveness. It is a powerful reminder that sometimes, in order to find true happiness, we must be willing to let go of what we thought we wanted and embrace the unknown.
Shiloh: Full Book Summary
She let me go to school and she would always show up to my school band concerts or any events that I was involved in. Strangelove and Lover Come Back while the baby slept in the backseat. She doesn't play the organ anymore, though her second paper was called "Why Music Is Important to Me. If, traditionally, Shiloh evokes the thousands of lost and grieving widows of the post—Civil War South, then Norma Jean flatly flaunts that tradition. Leroy eats a sandwich and then smokes a joint, hiding it behind the picnic cooler.
But Mabel seems just as bewildered by the changes in Norma Jean as Leroy is. Moreover, in signing up for a composition class, Norma Jean is showing that she wants to develop the skill of investigating and articulating her own thoughts, which is just as much a part of becoming her own person as developing her physical strength. And his inability to talk to Norma Jean about their marriage, even though he desperately wants to, shows the same thing. At the park, Leroy sees a log cabin riddled with bullet holes—a relic from the bloody Civil War battle that took place there many years ago. Winner of the Ernest Hemingway award, the story begins soon after 34-year-old LeRoy Moffitt, a truck driver who had spent 15 years on the road, returns home because of a serious leg injury resulting from an accident. Instead of treating Shiloh as a site honoring tens of thousands of dead soldiers, she sees it as a pleasant place for a honeymoon, and instead of acknowledging that it was the site of a devastating Confederate defeat, she sees Shiloh as a symbol of Southern pride.
Such changes separate the characters from their traditions. After Mabel leaves, Norma Jean reads to Leroy from a list she has made. While they pretend to be strangers meeting over a stalled car, Stevie tosses an ounce of marijuana under the front seat of Leroy's car. Leroy jokes that they can use it to hide things. She is still pretty. De brothahs kin go 'long home 'twell dey called fu'.
His father is a prominent doctor who lives in one of the expensive subdivisions in a new white-columned brick house that looks like a funeral parlor. He has the feeling that they are waking up out of a dream together—that they must create a new marriage, start afresh. He would be about Stevie's age now. She begins playing "Who'll Be the Next in Line? He imagined it would be like a golf course, but instead there are bluffs, ravines, monuments, and clusters of trees everywhere. But then Norma Jean turns the tables and states that her name actually derives from the Norman invaders—a ruthless band of conquerors. It reminds him of a rustic Nativity scene.
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Mabel went there on her honeymoon years ago; it was the only real trip she ever took. But as long as Leroy fixates on building the log cabin and refuses to talk with Norma Jean about his feelings and their past, they have no hope of reconciling. Leroy manages to open the refrigerator and get some Diet Pepsi to offer Mabel. In one moment everything was forgotten save that here stood her long delinquent husband. She threw out her arms and took a step toward him, but he anticipated her further advance and rushing to her clasped her ample form in a close embrace.
At Shiloh they see an original cabin. He knew that when Christmas came they wanted a great rally, somewhat approaching, at least, the rousing times both spiritual and temporal that they had had back on the old plantation, when Christmas meant a week of pleasurable excitement. Norma Jean has reached the bluff, and she is looking out over the Tennessee River. Seeing grown-up kids the age Randy would be, had he lived, reminds Leroy of his son. She was just talking.
This tragic event has left this couple is an awkward discomfort. It occurs to Leroy that Mabel has been hinting all along that she wants them to take her with them to Shiloh. It was standing during the battle, and there are still bullet holes in its side to this day. He has become so estranged from his wife through their failure to ever discuss anything of consequence that they have become total strangers to each other. He notices the peculiar way goldfinches fly past the window. He thinks about an old friend, Virgil, who organized a drug bust. Even after Mabel tells the story about the baby killed by the dog, they refer to the death of their son only abstractly.
They are still just making conversation. Norma Jean has never complained about his traveling; she has never made hurt remarks, like calling his truck a "widow-maker. When Leroy returns home, his mother-in-law, Mabel Beasley, is at the house. But when the oven timer goes off and she runs to the kitchen, he forgets why he wants to do this. At Christmas, Leroy bought an electric organ for Norma Jean. Norma Jean flexes her biceps and feels them for hardness. Martha rubbed her eyes and stared at him, and then she looked at the cup accusingly, and from it back to the man.