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Shiloh by bobbie ann mason full story

18/11/2021 Client: muhammad11 Deadline: 2 Day

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SHILOH by Mason QUESTION 6, CHAMPION

Question: 6 Laurie Champion’s story synopsis offers a different point, stating the battleground ( called Shiloh in the story) is symbolic of the couple's "dying relationship"? Do you agree? Explain.

READ the content below to answer the question ABOVE in 2 parts ( agree & explain)?

file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Mason,%20battle%20of%20Shiloh%20(1).pdf

Shiloh, and Other Stories

“Shiloh,” the title story in Mason’s first collection, is a story about love, loss, and history. A couple, Leroy and Norma Jean, have been married for sixteen years. They married when Norma Jean was pregnant with their son Randy, a child who died as an infant. Leroy is home recuperating from an accident he had in his truck. His leg is healing, but he is afraid to go back to driving a truck long distances. He takes on traditionally feminine activities in the story: He starts doing crafts, watches birds at the feeder, and remains the passenger in the car even after his leg has healed enough for him to drive.

The accident that forced Leroy to remain at home for months recuperating is the second crisis in the couple’s marriage. The earlier crisis had been their baby’s death. After the baby died, Leroy and Norma Jean remained married but emotionally isolated from each other:

They never speak about their memories of Randy, which have almost faded, but now that Leroy is home all the time, they sometimes feel awkward around each other, and Leroy wonders if one of them should mention the child. He has the feeling that they are waking up out of a dream together.

Now that Leroy is at home, he “sees things about Norma Jean that he never realized before.” Leroy’s staying at home so much leads to several important changes for Norma Jean: She begins to lift weights, takes a writing course, and curses in front of her mother. In response to the repeated suggestion of Norma Jean’s mother, the couple drives to the Shiloh battleground for a second honeymoon trip. At Shiloh, Norma Jean tells Leroy that she wants to leave him. The history of Shiloh is significant to the story of this marriage. Shiloh, an early battle in the Civil War, proved that the Civil War would be a long and bloody one. The story concludes with Leroy merging family history with battleground history and Norma Jean literally flexing her muscles. Their civil war will be Leroy fighting for union and Norma Jean seeking her independent self.

Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Bobbie Ann Mason's "Shiloh" Laurie Champion Content Synopsis Bobbie Ann Mason's short story "Shiloh" is told in the third-person, from Leroy Moffitt's point of view. The story concerns the relationship between Leroy, a truck driver whose recent injury has left him unable to work, and his wife Norma Jean, who works at a drugstore. Now in their mid-thirties, Leroy and Norma have been married since they both were eighteen. A few months after they married they had a child, who died at the age of four months. Until his accident, Leroy had been a long distance truck driver and frequently spent time away from home. During the times he spent at home, he and Norma Jean would watch TV and play cards together, and she would cook his favorite meals. Now, he spends most of his time home alone, making crafts. He is considering building a log house, but Norma Jean claims provisions forbid building log cabins in the subdivisions. Norma Jean tells Leroy he needs to get a job before they can afford to buy a house. Since he has been staying at home, Leroy notices things about his surroundings and his personal relationships that he has never noticed. Since Leroy's injury, Norma Jean has began body building classes and is attending a composition course at the local community college. She also has been experimenting with unconventional recipes. One day, Leroy meets a friend in a shopping center parking lot and buys marijuana. When he returns home, his mother-in-law, Mabel, is visiting. She has brought Norma a dust ruffle she has made. Mabel urges Leroy and Norma Jean to visit the Civil War battleground in Shiloh, Tennessee, where she spent her honeymoon with Norma Jean's father, who died when Norma Jean was ten. Leroy frequently spends his time driving around town. During one particular drive, he becomes depressed because he notices that the new houses in the subdivisions look complex and he feels unsure if a log house would be appropriate. He returns home to find Norma Jean crying because her mother caught her smoking. Leroy wants to tell Norma Jean about himself the way he once talked to hitchhikers he picked up while truck driving. Mabel comes over the next day and tells Norma Jean and Leroy about a baby who was killed by a dachshund dog. Norma Jean suspects that her mother mentioned the death of a baby as retribution for catching her smoking. One day, Leroy confides in Mabel regarding his strained relationship with Norma Jean. Mabel suggests he take her to visit Shiloh. Norma Jean returns from the grocery store, and they discuss going to Shiloh. The following Sunday, Leroy, Norma Jean, and Mabel go to Shiloh. Norma Jean and Leroy settle at a spot for a picnic. Leroy talks about American history, and Norma Jean suddenly announces that she wants to leave him. In response to Leroy's suggestion that they "start all over again" (15), Norma Jean retorts that they have already started anew. Norma Jean says all was well until Mabel saw her smoking. Leroy realizes that his idea to build a log house is silly and that a log house is not the answer to his and Norma Jean's problems. He knows he will have to think of something else to renew their marriage. As Norma Jean walks through the cemetery, Leroy follows her. When she reaches the bluff near the Tennessee River, she turns to Leroy and waves her arms.

Exemplary of the minimalist writing tradition, in which a sparse style is used and most of the action occurs beneath the surface, "Shiloh" is open-ended. It is ambiguous whether Norma Jean and Leroy will divorce or whether they will rebuild their marriage. Symbols & Motifs The title of the story is the most significant symbol. Literally, the battleground of Shiloh is where Mabel and her husband spent their honeymoon. It also is the place in which Norma Jean announces she wants to leave Leroy. Representative of their dying relationship, Norma Jean and Leroy stare at the cemetery on the battleground when she announces she is leaving him. Just as Shiloh was the battleground for a significant Civil War battle, it is the battleground in which the conflict between Norma Jean and Leroy reaches a peak. The crafts Leroy makes reveal significant symbolical meaning. Leroy "makes things from craft kits. He started by building a miniature log cabin from notched Popsicle sticks. He varnished it and placed it on the TV set, where it remains. It reminds him of a rustic Nativity scene" (1). As Greg Bentley points out, "The miniature log cabin foreshadows the real log cabin Leroy intends to build for Norma Jean, but, more importantly, its analogy to the Nativity scene suggests how Leroy's ritual projects try to imbue his existence, his life and marriage, with meaning, with a value that it never possessed" (147). Leroy's other projects include "string art (sailing ships on black velvet), a macrame owl kit, a snap-together B-17 Flying Fortress, and a lamp made out of a model truck, with a light fixture screwed in the top of the cab" (1-2). Bentley notes, "In addition to exemplifying Leroy's lack of aesthetics, his projects reveal his lack of imagination, his inability to think for himself. Rather than actually build anything-that is, rather than create anything from his own design-Leroy relies on pre-fabricated kits, on someone else's plans and paradigms" (147-48). Leroy's dream to build a log house is alluded to many times in the story. The log house symbolizes Leroy's hopes and dreams. However, at the end of the story he sees that the notion of building a log house is foolish. Just as his dream of remaining content with Norma Jean fades, so does his dream of building a log house. The notion of beginnings and endings recurs through the story. Norma Jean and Leroy have a baby and it dies, representing the life cycle. Also, Norma Jean and Leroy are ending a stage in their relationship and may rebuild or end it. Significantly, Norma Jean announces she wants to leave Leroy, marking the end of a marriage at the same location in which her mother and father spent their honeymoon, marking the beginning of a marriage. Leroy has ended his career as a truck driver and begun creating crafts. Norma Jean has recently begun body building and taking college courses. Historical Context The title "Shiloh" alludes to the historical Battle of Shiloh, or the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing. The Battle of Shiloh was a major Civil War battle in which Union forces defeated Confederate forces on April 6-7, 1862. When it occurred, it was the bloodiest battle in American history. In "Shiloh," the Civil War battle parallels the struggle between Norma Jean and Leroy. This analogy is appropriate because as a married couple, the conflict between Norma Jean and Leroy is that within a family as opposed to one between people who are not related (by blood or marriage). This family dispute is representative of a battle within one country as opposed to one between two countries. Trying to persuade Norma Jean and Leroy to visit Shiloh, Mabel says, "I always thought Shiloh was the prettiest place, so full of history" (13). When Leroy, Norma Jean, and Mabel visit the battleground, Leroy tries to recite history. But he only repeats what he reads on historical plaques: "He doesn't know any history" (14). Leroy compares his family's history with the Civil War battle, but he "knows he is leaving out a lot. He is leaving out the insides of history" (16). Just as he doesn't understand the complexity of the Battle of Shiloh, he doesn't comprehend the intricacies of his relationship with Norma Jean. Societal Context "Shiloh" portrays the dynamics of a family. Leroy and Norma Jean have been married several years and are experiencing a crossroads in their relationship. Norma Jean's mother, Mabel, also is a component in the family unit. The story reveals changing attitudes about women's roles as wives. Norma Jean is learning to shape a self-identity that transcends her socially defined role as wife. For example, instead of cooking Leroy's favorite meals, Norma Jean "has been cooking unusual foods — tacos, lasagna, Bombay chicken" (11). She also attends college and performs body building. After Norma Jean announces that she wants to leave Leroy, he asks, "Is this one of those women's lib things?" (15). Norma Jean is becoming more independent and defies traditional social prescriptions regarding the role of women in society. The story makes many references to popular culture, which reveal contemporary social customs and attitudes. For example, the talk show "Donahue" is mentioned. Additionally, Leroy makes a "Star Trek" pillow. Norma Jean plays on the piano songs from the sixties such as "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." The characters drink Diet Pepsi and Coke. The lifestyle of the characters is representative of the changing times. Once mostly farmland, "subdivisions are spreading across western Kentucky like an oil slick" (3), and this growth has sparked change in habits and attitudes. As Leroy notes, "The farmers who used to gather around the courthouse square on Saturday afternoon to play checkers and spit tobacco juice have gone" (4). Religious Context "Shiloh" makes no direct reference to religion. Perhaps the story implies that popular culture and changing society have strayed from religious ideology. Even though the story concerns serious matters such as the death of a baby, the death of a husband and father, and a serious bodily injury, the notion of a God or life hereafter is not mentioned. The story does, however, refer to fate as a factor that controls destiny. Mabel still resents Leroy for Norma Jean's out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Instead of referring to God as justice maker, Leroy says, "When the baby died, [Mabel] said that fate was mocking her" (5). Although it's unclear whether Mabel thinks fate was mocking Norma Jean or herself, it is significant that she places responsibility on fate, not a higher being. Scientific & Technological Context Although "Shiloh" concerns the relationship between a married couple, the story makes some references to science and technology. The truck Leroy drives represents modern technology. Frequently, he thinks in mechanical terms. For example, when Norma Jean explains that there are "three stages of complexion care, involving creams, toners, and moisturizers, he thinks happily of other petroleum products — axle grease, diesel fuel" (2). Technology is alluded to in the reference to the film "Dr. Strangelove," which Norma Jean and Leroy were watching when their baby died. Leroy recalls technological devices referred to in the film such as a hot line, bombs, and a lit-up world map. Regarding the death of their baby, Leroy thinks, "Now scientists are saying that crib death is caused by a virus. Nobody knows anything" (5). These references regard technology and science negatively. In "Shiloh," technology destructs and destroys and science has no explanation, much less cure, for the virus that caused the death of Leroy's and Norma Jean's baby. Biographical Context Bobbie Ann Mason was born in Mayfield, Kentucky, on May 1, 1940 and grew up with her three siblings on her parents' dairy farm. Since she was a young girl, Mason felt a passion for the arts. During her adolescence she listened to popular music and read literature such as Nancy Drew mysteries. She left her hometown to pursue graduate school, but her portrayals of rural Kentucky have contributed to her success as a significant American writer. After earning her BA from the University of Kentucky in 1962, Mason moved to New York City, where she worked for Ideal Publishing Co. and wrote for popular magazines such as "Movie Stars, Movie Life," and "T.V. Star Parade." She received her MA in English at the University of New York at Binghamton in 1966. In 1969, she married Roger B. Rawlings, an editor and writer, and in 1972, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. From 1972 until 1979, Mason taught at Mansfield State College in Pennsylvania. During the eighties, Mason began to publish short stories in distinguished magazines such as "The New Yorker" and "The Atlantic Monthly." Mason has written successfully in several genres, both fiction and nonfiction. Her scholarly endeavors include "Nabokov's Garden: A Guide to 'Ada'" and "The Girl Sleuth: A Feminist Guide to the Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and Their Sisters." Since the early eighties, she has published several short story collections and novels. Additionally, her biography of Elvis Presley appeared in 2002. In 2000, Mason's memoir, "Clear Springs: A Family Story," appeared. In 1990, Mason returned to Kentucky to live. Mason received honorary doctorates from the University of Kentucky and from Eastern Kentucky University in 1994 and 1995 respectively. In addition to acclaim received for her novel "In Country" (which was adapted into a film starring Bruce Willis), Bobbie Ann Mason has received critical attention for her other novels and for her short stories. Works Cited Bentley, Greg. "The Wounded King: Bobbie Ann Mason's 'Shiloh' and Marginalized Male Subjectivity." Southern Literary Journal 37.1 (2004): 144-65. Blythe, Hal. "Using Mason's 'Shiloh' to Teach a Scholarly Frame of Mind." Eureka Studies in Teaching Short Fiction 5.2 (2005): 39-46. Champion, Laurie. "Bobbie Ann Mason's (Open-Ended) Marriages." Midwest Quarterly 43 (2001): 95-111. Mason, Bobbie Ann. "Shiloh." Shiloh and Other Stories. New York: Harper and Row, 1982. 1- 16. Morphew, G. O. "Downhome Feminists in Shiloh and Other Stories." Southern Literary Journal 21.2 (1989): 41-49. Wilhelm, Albert E. Bobbie Ann Mason: A Study of the Short Fiction. New York: Twayne, 1998.

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