The Struggle in Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason Essay

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Leroy and Norma Jean in the short story, “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason, are a married couple, and they experience a series of events, which shapes them and determines there future. The final setting, Shiloh, works well to highlight the battles of war to the battles between Norma Jean and Leroy. Throughout the story Mason is focused on the persistency of grief, the instability of gender roles, along with the distance and lack of communication separating Leroy and Norma Jean from each other. Mason illustrates how marriage can be a struggle striving to work out to the very end. The struggle to battle with the persistent grief of self-blame and lack of identity is a constant reminder to the barriers in relationships. Leroy grieves …show more content…

There are many instances where Leroy shows his submissive role of the marriage, such as, when Mason writes, he is doing needlepoint, macramé, and concerning himself with the state of marriage (Mason 219), because of societies standards he should be concerned with providing for his family. On the other hand, Norma Jean is a more dominant character of the household. While Leroy is injured Norma Jean feels the need to take on his duties by getting an education, having a job, and focusing on fitness, which Leroy is now learning about her. For instance, Mason states, Norma Jean and Leroy used to have fun when he came back from work, eating dinner that she made, playing cards and watching television (Mason 224). This shows that Leroy does not know his wife is anymore. Leroy recognizes the change in the roles and the changes he sees in his wife and becomes concerned about his marriage. Lack of obligations and selfish acts cause conflicts in their marriage when the characters do not fulfill expectations based on gender. By avoiding communication the characters seem as if they are doing the best for their relationship, but in fact it contributes to the dissolution of their marriage. Although Randy’s death occurred years before the story takes place, it continues to pass through the consciousnesses of Leroy and Norma Jean.

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