Shiloh Bobbie Ann Mason Summary

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The importance of the title “Shiloh”, the short story by Bobbie Ann Mason, signals the story is all about Norma Jean and Leroy’s marriage falling apart after Leroy had an accident on his rig. Although he is almost fully recovered now, he is afraid to drive the rig again. That means that he is no longer the head of the household, and he begins to lose his identity as the provider. Truck drivers work long days and are normally always on the road only coming home for short periods of time. I think Leroy was just hardly ever home. Since he has been away from home so much the past few years their marriage has changed, and Leroy doesn’t realize that until he is home recovering from his accident. Things in life are always changing.
The short story
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Shiloh, Tennessee is where some of the civil war was fought, and it’s a big part of American history. It holds positive memories for Leroy’s mother-in-law, Mabel, because after she married Norma Jean’s dad and they visited the day after. Norma Jean sees it as a place and an opportunity for her to become independent. Over the years Norma Jean had started to take classes, and supported them by working at a drug store behind a cosmetics counter. She went from needing restful nights to staying up late working on compositions and working out. She changed her cooking habits and was more focused on becoming healthy and how she looked. Leroy can relate to Shiloh because of their marriage. He has seen the changes since having to stay home to heal and realizes how much he has missed out on by being gone so much on the road. He recalls several times the death of their son and their inability to talk about it, but also feels fortunate that their marriage had survived it. Not speaking of it has also become a battle in his mind. Shiloh is what the entire story is about, the important battles. In the story, there are many different ways Leroy and Norma Jean can relate to this battlefield and I think that’s the importance of the title
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