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p. Abstract | Text | Bibliography | Notes | References | About the author 1 The criticism on Bobbie Ann Mason’s fiction centers largely on the individual’s. “These stories will last,” said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason . “Mason is a full-fledged master of the short story. “These stories will last,” said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this stunning.

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He is out of date—attempting to move backward in history instead of forward into the future where opportunity supposedly lies for someone who believes in the American dream. Leroy himself is headed for defeat. When Leroy injures his leg in a traffic accident, he can no longer drive his wheeler. Readers who encounter the fiction of Bobbie Ann Mason through Shiloh and Other Stories discover a world of ordinary, working-class Southerners.

Mason herself has commented many times on her concern with working-class people. This is the Kentucky in which Mason herself grew up. As shillh commented in an interview with Lila Havens, she is more interested in the changes her male characters undergo.

The Return to Shiloh: Family and Fantasy in Bobbie Ann Mason’s “Shiloh”

She believes in the American dream. Mason put a human face on statistics in creating the characters of Leroy and Norma Jean. He wonders if they close their eyes when they fall.

A narrative can be arranged chronologically, in which the events that occur first are depicted first, or according to any number of plans that the writer might want to follow. These economic trends correlate with other social trends, like the rising divorce rate, which peaked in at 5.

During her life, her identity has been defined by her relationship first to her mother and then to Leroy.

Or are we to make an analogy between the characters and the feeding birds? In gobbie case, Norma Jean is getting ready to texr her independence. She frequently enters without knocking and one day surprises Norma Jean and catches her smoking a cigarette. Ironically, although Leroy notices that his hometown has changed, he is unable to see, or at least acknowledge, changes in his wife. Although she is uncertain of the identity she wants to assume, she knows that she can no longer allow her mother and Leroy to define her.


An image is a concrete picture and can function as a symbol. When she agrees to visit Shiloh, she finally tells Leroy that she wants to leave him.

Although he tries to create Norma Jean by telling her what to think and what to do, she eludes him; although he tries to build a msson that will take Norma Jean back to the beginning of their marriage, he ultimately fails. It is a no-win situation for Leroy. Byover 19 percent had.

In support of these contentions, one can point to the ending of the story where, having told her husband Leroy that she wants to leave him, Norma Jean walks quickly through the cemetery at Shiloh, pursued by the limping Leroy, who is both literally and symbolically unable to keep up with her:. I feel eighteen again. However, Norma Jean is through being told what to do by her mother and her husband, and she will no longer let the two of them define her existence with their words.

Their way of life in rural Kentucky is also dying, buried beneath subdivisions and shopping malls. No doubt he is also seeking craft in its root sense of power or strength. The story ends when she turns back to Leroy and waves her arms. She seems to be doing an exercise for her chest muscles. Now he wants to build a real log cabin for his wife.

Shiloh is not what Mabel had shilph it up to be, and it does not hold the same meaning or history for them as it does for Mabel. He hext ready to make new plans, but he has again displaced his anger in details: The next day, Mabel and Jet visited the battleground, and then Norma Jean was born, and then she married Leroy and they had a baby, which they lost, and now Leroy and Norma Jean are here at the same battleground.

However, even this dream evaporates as his wife tells him that she wants to leave him.

That is, Mabel desires Norma Jean and Leroy to travel to Shiloh because the trip embodies her imaginary return to it, a fantasy that not only represents the unity of the family for her, but one that also signifies her ful unity shlioh adequacy—the wholeness and sufficiency of her subjectivity.


She cautions that although the destination of Shiloh may have symbolic overtones, it is integral to the story and should not be separated from its context in any analysis. The males, perhaps, seem the more affected, and more ineffectual in their attempts to seize or to create some new center for their lives.

In such contexts the sense of self is besieged from all sides and becomes highly sihloh. Mason, Bobbie Ann and Lila Havens.

Bobbie Ann Mason – Shiloh and Other Stories

Sometimes only divorce, always initiated by the women, will provide the degree of change these women seek but sometimes their assertiveness merely aims for a change of pace—casual adultery, for example.

He is also a drug pusher who supplies Leroy with drugs. Norma Jean also buys into the American Dream but lives an empty life.

Issues All issues Forthcoming issues Norma Jean now lifts weights, works at the Rexall cosmetics counter, and seems uncomfortable around her husband.

Norma Jean sees this as a veiled reference to her own baby, who died in infancy of sudden infant death syndrome. When the couple goes to Shiloh, they find a log cabin, full of bullet holes. Electronic reference Greg W. Leroy Moffitt and Norma Jean, a couple who have been married for fifteen years, find their lives disrupted not only by the trucking accident that has rendered Leroy disabled and unemployed but also by the changes that are occurring in their home town in Kentucky.

I have this crazy feeling I missed something.

Leroy finally seems to realize that he has been looking only at the surface details of his marriage, not at the whole, complicated relationship. Mayfield, like her fictional settings, is a landscape undergoing transition. In literature, a symbol is an object that stands for something else, usually an abstract idea. Mabel was displeased when Leroy got Norma Jean pregnant and saw the death of their son as a sort of divine retribution.

Fukl the story unfolds, moreover, we see that perhaps Mabel was the primary source of that stress.