Mabel Beasley in Shiloh Essay

720 Words3 Pages
Sergeant Mom

	Mabel Beasley, the Mother of Norma Jean, in Bobbie Ann Mason’s "Shiloh", has all the characteristics of a Marine Drill Sergeant. A Drill Sergeant will inspect living areas for cleanliness, demand everything be in its proper place, maintain strict discipline, and change certain personality or character traits. The Drill Sergeant will force any person, without a strong spirit, to perform acts of defiance against themselves, society, or the object of their tribulations. These Drill Sergeant characteristics are very evident in the way Mabel governed Norma Jean during her adult life.

	Our introduction to Mabel in the story does not resemble the stature of a Drill Sergeant; just the opposite is
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It is doubtful Norma Jean will give Mabel another grandbaby. She is thirty-four, and it has been fifteen years. Now, Mabel is beginning to realize no grandchildren will enrich her life while she is young.

Mabel’s actual age is not known, neither is there knowledge of her age when she married, or the circumstances surrounding her marriage. Was it possible she made a mistake, and married because she was pregnant with Norma Jean?

	Mabel’s mistake, and the disgust she feels, has been directed at dominating Norma Jean. Her hatred is misdirected. She cannot accept the fact she was not a good mother during Norma Jean’s teenage years. She was a single mom, working at least one job maybe two, in order to provide a living for her and Norma Jean: "Her husband died of a perforated ulcer when Norma Jean was ten" (667). Mabel was not there to guide Norma Jean, answer her questions, or teach her about life. Without a Mother and Father figure Norma Jean was left on her own to experiment with life and make her own mistakes.

	Mabel was determined to punish Norma Jean for the mistake. She would interfere and disrupt her daughter’s life without allowing Norma Jean to make any decisions for herself. Mabel cannot understand why Norma Jean is not acting the way Mabel expects:
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