Bobbie Ann Mason-Shiloh- Setting Analysis Essay
922 WordsMar 15th, 20134 Pages
“Shiloh” was written by Bobbie Ann Mason in 1982. The center of attraction of this narrative is a married couple, Leroy Moffitt and his wife, Norma Jean. During this story the characters are affected by their changing social rural Kentucky environment. In this time period, Kentucky transforms to a more suburb environment from their usual rural surroundings. Apart from their marriage changing with their social environment, so does their role of gender. Leroy and Norma Jean swaps traditional gender roles, which alters their marriage and leads to the breakdown of the Moffitts.
The narrative is told from the perspective of Leroy Moffitt, a recent disabled truck driver. Although the injury leads him to sit home all day like a bored housewife,…show more content…
We have been informed that Leroy’s drug dealer, Stevie Hamilton, would of been the same age of Randy. This event tells the audience that Leroy refuses to move on from the past and continues to bring their marriage to an end. Consequently, the Moffitt’s gets one of their frequent visits from Mabel, the mother of Norma Jean and is constantly nagged by her to take a trip to Shiloh, a Civil War battlefield. This place is where Mabel and her late husband, Jet, spent their honeymoon and she thinks that such a trip will help them solve their marriage problems. After arriving at Shiloh, they see a log cabin, as Leroy expected. Close to the cemetery, they eat lunch. After they eat, Leroy smokes a joint, silence falls, and Norma Jean tells him that she wants to leave him. He suggests starting over, and she says they already did start over. After making her final decision, she travels down a serpentine brick path to begin her journey. Norma jean does not know where this path will lead her, but she knows that she is finally leaving.
Leroy and Norma Jean are both victims of rapid social change. Norma Jean was the most affected by her surroundings comparing to Leroy. Norma Jean had to marry at the age of eighteen to the man who got her pregnant, and in a cruel twist of fate, the child dies of sudden infant death syndrome. This event from her life prevents her to look towards the
Part 1. Sam Hughes, her uncle Emmett Smith, and her paternal grandmother Mamaw are traveling from their hometown of Hopewell, Kentucky, to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Their travel is slowed by the faulty transmission of their Volkswagen, so they decide to spend the night in a motel. At dinner, Mamaw wonders what life might have been like had Sam’s father, Dwayne Hughes, survived the Vietnam War. The next day, the trio is stranded on a Maryland highway and is forced to spend another night in a motel while the car is repaired.
Part 2. Earlier in the summer, Sam had graduated from high school and began living in her mother’s house, along with Uncle Emmett, a jobless Vietnam veteran with unresolved health issues. Worries about Emmett and her desire to learn more about her father make the Vietnam War central to Sam’s thoughts for the rest of the summer.
Sam spends the summer in the company of her boyfriend, Lonnie Malone, and her friend Dawn. One night, Lonnie, Emmett, and Sam visit nearby Cawood Pond, where they smoke marijuana. The next day, Dawn pierces Sam’s ears. Sam also spends time with her uncle and his friends, Tom and Pete, who are also Vietnam veterans, and sometimes joins them for breakfast at McDonald’s, quizzing them about the war.
Sam visits Anita Stevens, a nurse and Emmett’s former girlfriend, encouraging her to get back into Emmett’s life and asking her for advice about Emmett’s medical problems. Sam continues to piece together the experience of Vietnam in whatever ways she can, remembering films about the war, connecting the Kentucky landscape with farmlands in Vietnam, and speaking with local veterans. Dinner at the home of Lonnie’s parents reveals the feelings of ordinary citizens regarding the war and those who fought in it.
Sam finally gets Emmett to see a doctor about his skin problem, which she is convinced is due to exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange, but the doctor dismisses this theory as unlikely. Anita comes for dinner one evening, and Emmett agrees to attend the dance being organized by Jim for the Vietnam veterans.
Dropping by Tom’s auto-repair shop on her frequent runs through town, Sam starts to develop a romantic interest in Tom. During their impromptu tour of the clock tower of the courthouse, where Emmett once flew the Viet Cong flag, their attraction for each other intensifies. As her interest in Tom waxes, her feelings for Lonnie wane, and when Lonnie announces that he will be gone for several days to participate in his brother’s bachelor party, Sam decides that she will pursue Tom at the dance. Meanwhile, Dawn reveals that she is pregnant.
At the dance, Sam...
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