p. Abstract | Text | Bibliography | Notes | References | About the author 1 The criticism on Bobbie Ann Mason’s fiction centers largely on the individual’s. “These stories will last,” said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason . “Mason is a full-fledged master of the short story. “These stories will last,” said Raymond Carver of Shiloh and Other Stories when it was first published, and almost two decades later this stunning.

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Just as she blamed Leroy for her loss of Norma Jean—and thus her place ,ason the first family structure—Mabel blames Norma Jean for her loss of Randy—and thus the loss of her place in the second family structure.

Freud bobbue consciousness as a repository for external stimuli, which then become psychically processed. In support of these contentions, one can point to the ending of the story where, having told her husband Leroy that she wants to leave him, Norma Jean walks quickly through the cemetery at Shiloh, pursued by the limping Leroy, who is both literally and symbolically unable to keep up with her:.

She saves bread heels for the birds. Norma Jean has reached the bluff, and she is looking dhiloh over the Tennessee River. Nor does she need sjiloh continue in a loveless marriage. He attempts to resurrect his idea of the American Dream by making plans to build a log cabin.

She becomes the sole proprietor and the sole executor of the phallus.

Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason | : Books

Leroy continues to pester Norma Jean about building a log cabin for her. An Introduction to Short Fiction, 2nd ed.

We recognize, by bringing these two metonymies together, that even though Norma Jean is building up her strength, she is a creature of habit shloh cannot face intimacy in the light. Because she is so dominated by her mother, Norma Jean skirmishes as much with Mabel as with Leroy in her struggle to free herself from a marriage she no longer wants.

It is unclear whether Leroy will ever return to work as a truck driver. In this case, Norma Jean is getting ready to assert her independence. Neither Leroy nor Mabel will have the strength to hold her back this time. That is, Mabel desires Norma Jean and Leroy to travel to Shiloh because the trip embodies her imaginary return to it, a fantasy that not only represents the unity of the family for her, aann one that also signifies her own unity ufll adequacy—the wholeness and sufficiency of her subjectivity.


The story is told entirely from his point of view. It was a crazy idea. Other statistics point to shifting cultural patterns. They stay put and attempt to construct a new identity or they light out for the territories in the hope of discovering one. Her frosted curls resemble pencil trimmings. Ironically, although Leroy notices that his hometown has changed, he is unable to see, or at least acknowledge, changes in his wife.

Shiloh |

At least part of the identity crisis that Leroy and Norma Jean face can be attributed to their reversal of traditional gender roles.

Leroy cannot understand what her wave means. In the final reversal of the story, it is Norma Jean who drives the car when she and Leroy go to Shiloh. Both thematically and structurally, the imagery of birds permeates the story by means of a contrast between Norma Jean, who is ready to end the marriage, to spread her wings and fly, and Leroy, who has returned to the nest and is desperately hoping to start their marriage afresh.

Leroy cannot seem to comprehend that his marriage is falling apart.

These details are selected out of a whole context and offered to us as lingering details, parts of a whole. Norma Jean is mortified that her mother has found out that she smokes and becomes increasingly unhappy with her life from this point on.

The act of building offers the reader a framework for understanding this story. Learn more about citation styles Citation styles Encyclopedia. Despite this, the stock market set record highs and traded record numbers of shares. A log cabin, though, is not as valuable as a condominium in the suburbs, so Leroy—with his dream of a log cabin, his unwillingness to get back to work, and his desire to stop speeding by details—is a failure, in terms of the myth of progress.

Norma Jean closes her eyes when they are in bed. Leroy Moffitt and Norma Jean, a couple who have been married for fifteen years, find their lives disrupted not only by the trucking accident that has rendered Leroy disabled and unemployed but also by the changes that are occurring in their home town in Kentucky. Norma Jean sees this as a veiled reference to her own baby, who died in infancy of sudden infant death syndrome.


Reviewers praised Mason for her spare realism and her ear for the language of the people of western Kentucky. The narrator concentrates on her body parts, foregrounding her pectorals, her legs, her arms, her knees, her ankles, her hard biceps, her chest muscles, and on her two-pound weights.

A French-American journal dedicated to short story and other short forms of writing. References Bibliographical reference Greg W. She works at a drug store and is confronted with cosmetics and beauty magazines promising to change her life. In spite of all their efforts they repeatedly find themselves caught in the dilemma described by Orrin Klapp [in Collective Search for Identity, ]: She lifts weights and writes compositions. This relationship of the individual to the family, moreover, has fairly recently become the primary focus of psychoanalytic semiotics, most notably in the work of Kaja Silverman.

Hardison has observed [in Entering the Maze: Ironically, however, in the middle of their picnic lunch, Norma Jean tells Leroy that she wants to leave him. When they arrive at the battleground, it is not what either of them has expected. Leroy was injured in a trucking accident; now he stays at home, smokes marijuana, and makes things from craft kits.

The Return to Shiloh: Family and Fantasy in Bobbie Ann Mason’s “Shiloh”

When he comes back to his reverie about Ufll Jean, after looking at the birds, he wonders if she closes her eyes when she falls, just as he had wondered about the birds. Mostly, he wants to return to how things were test the beginning with Norma Jean, and his plan to build a log cabin is indicative of his tendency to live in the past rather than to look toward the future.

He can only think of that war as a board game with plastic soldiers.

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