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Shiloh By Bobby Anne Mason Essay

1155 words - 5 pages

The short story intitled "Shiloh", by Bobbie Ann Mason, is a story about change over the course of a young woman's life. Mason uses the character, Norma Jean, to give her audience an idea of how times have changed along with people. Norma Jean, a woman forced to stay married because of "old south traditions", sees a new light as modern days draw nearer. Norma Jean was a woman with low confidence, a house wife, and very dependant on her husband. However, through motivation she changes from these things to a woman who has lots of confidence, to the "woman of the house", and to a very independent person.Norma Jean had many traumatic things happen in her life to give her very low confidence. For one thing, Norma Jean became pregnant at the age of eighteen. She was a teenager who made a mistake and had to pay for it. Due to the old south traditions, Norma Jean was forced to get married to Leroy, the baby's father. Norma Jean lost her baby tragically to infant death syndrome. Here she was married to man that she made a mistake with and lost the baby that brought them together. On top of everything, Norma Jean's mother was a very dominant figure in her life who gave her no confidence at all. Throughout the story she seems very intimidated by her mother. Her mother "notices if her laudry is piling up, she inspects the closets and then the plants, informing Norma Jean when a plant is droopy or yellow" (Mason 48). Her mother found out she smoked, when Norma Jean was 34 years old, and gave her a really hard time about it. Her mother makes Norma Jean feel as though it was her fault that the baby died. She said the baby died because of neglect. Norma Jean seems to be very dependant upon her mother throughout the story trying desperately to please her. Norma Jean stays married to Leroy who becomes a truck driver and is never at home. She basically is treated like a maid. She stayed at home and cooked and cleaned for Leroy whenever he was at home. She had no job, or no past time activity she could turn to. Leroy bought her an organ to try to help her pass time away, but she did not know how to play it. Norma Jean was the typical American woman at that time, a woman with no confidence.As modern times approached, and women became more dominant, Norma Jean began to build up her confidence. Unfortunately this all happened when Leroy was injured in a truck driving accident and was forced to stay at home. Norma Jean gained this confidence, for one, knowing that her husband now depended on her. She got a job at a cosmetic counter, she exercised, and she learned how to play the organ. She did not take as much time preparing dinner, and when she did it was "healthy" items that Leroy really did not like. She changes from an old fashioned southern traditional girl, into a 90's woman. This was who Norma Jean really was and it built up her confidence tremendously.Along whit gaining confidence, Norma Jean realizes that she had become the "plain f16 woplainf16 man of the...

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