"A Battle Lost" A Short Essay Focusing On The Themes Of Relationships In The Short Story "Shilo"

1898 words - 8 pages

"A battle lost"A short essay focusing on the theme of Relationships in ShilohIn the work "Shiloh" by Bobbie Sue Mason, one quickly discovers a main theme. This theme in centers on the gradual disintegration of the two main characters, Norma Jean and Leroy Moffitt's marriage Norma Jean and Leroy are an older married couple that are experiencing new roadblocks in their relationship. Leroy, a long distance trucker who has spent most of the last 15 years on the road has come home to stay after a highway accident that wrecked his tractor-trailer rig. Norma Jean, his wife, is used to being home without Leroy and does not know how to handle him being around so often. Her mother Mabel has decided to take Leroy's place in a way, by hanging around the house more than he ever had. She helps Norma Jean, but she also is a burden. It is up to the reader to decide whether Norma Jean and Leroy stay together, or end up getting a divorce at the end of the story. Most, however feel that they did indeed separate. Laurie Champion, an author featured in Midwest Quarterly writes: "Regarding "Shiloh," critics argue that because of her newfound independence Norma Jean will divorce Leroy. Dee Bakker notes that Norma Jean improves her mind and body, "her means of gaining power-in-the-world, and in the end she decides to dissolve her marriage in order to further explore and expand her power". G. O. Morphew says, "By himself,Leroy is no match for Norma Jean, and like the Union army of the original battle of Shiloh, she is the aggressor, the invader, and she wins her own battle when she announces she is leaving Leroy". Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet note that "death and desolation permeate the Moffitts' existence"; Leroy's truck symbolizes "a mechanical tombstone marking the death of the Moffitt marriage" (Champion)There are a couple of issues that, if looked at, discussed and handled differently could be resolved. The death of their son, Mabel the controlling mother, and the inability for the two to communicate at all causes the cracks in their relationship.The death of their son happened before Leroy was constantly on the road. They never really discussed what happened or how it made them feel. Leroy just hit the road and pretty much stayed there until he got hurt. This was the beginning of the rift between them. Norma Jean had some resentment for Leroy for leaving her to deal with all her emotions by herself. They were this relationship together, but never dealt with it together. Now Leroy is back and Norma Jean must see him everyday. She tries to escape from the pain and resentment that she feels by taking up different hobbies. When Leroy was gone she was not reminded that they had a son, she started a new life, a life that did not involve Leroy or the thought of the child that they lost. When Leroy returns, she is reminded of the life that they could have had. The life she would have had if Randy had not died, or the life that that would have existed had Leroy stayed and...

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