Movie Analysis: Marion Starrett

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Marion Starrett is the wife of Joe Starrett and love interest of Shane, who she fails to subdue throughout the movie Shane. Portrayed by Jean Arthur, Marion is a pastoral housewife in a late-19th century community of homesteaders. Marion is a very cautious woman who abhors undeserved violence to others. In Shane, Marion Starrett acts as an anchor of safety and conventionality to the men around her, and only men who are beyond her domestic control are fully free from her influence. Marion’s over-protective manner and speech towards Joe, Joey, and Shane throughout the movie depict her as an immovable force of security among her family and Shane. Her calm demeanor and influence of security, or lack thereof on Shane, forms her into a model of the perfect…show more content…
Marion is a very loving wife to Joe Starrett, who is portrayed by Van Heflin; Marion always stands by Joe’s side, even when facing the Rykers, the group of antagonist, nomadic cattle-herders in the movie. Marion continually cares for Joe and tends to his needs, whether it be through household chores or by offering advice. However, Joe is not an individual like Shane, who is portrayed by Alan Ladd. Joe is not “a completely autonomous individual who stands outside” (Bellah 146) of society. Rather, Joe is a married man who has an integral role in the society of homesteaders. However, Marion likes to see Joe spend time with Shane, especially because Shane is more adventurous than Joe; she commends the two for fighting so vigilantly in the bar, and she even remarks their teamwork as “wonderful” (Shane). Marion’s approval and attraction to Shane, which ensues an adherence to law not present in their household, causes Joe to become more like an individual; by the end of the movie, Joe is ready to go out alone as an individual to kill Wilson, portrayed by Jack Palance, the malevolent doppelganger of Shane, which is a watershed moment for Marion. She realizes the true danger that her husband is
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