Character Analysis on Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason
Bobbie Ann Mason’s first book Shiloh has won the Hemingway Foundation Award in 1983, as well as a finalist for the National Book Critics Award, the American Book Award, and the Faulkner Award. Shiloh tells the story of the Moffitt’s a couple that lives in Tennessee. Leroy the husband used to work as a truck driver until he had a debilitating accident that left him with a fear of driving for long distances again and finding a job. Norma Jean his wife is represented in the story behaving with masculine characteristics, and finally Norma Jeans’ mother, Mabel Beasley who is rather cynical of her daughter and Leroy’s relationship since the day they were married. The story is written in a very southern manner in the way the characters are represented and how each character speaks and behaves throughout out the story. This is mainly related to the fact that the author herself Bobbie Ann Mason grew up in Kentucky and was reared on doing farm chores and reading Nancy Drew. The language the story is written in and behavior of the characters represents her former life. “One of the effects of this recognition was a sharpened appreciation of the language spoken by the people with whom she grew up in Kentucky. She has explained that my language derives from the language of farm life which is very practical and not decorative. This is her mother’s language, Mason has commented, and it is rooted in the memories and traditions of a community” (Price 10.)
Shiloh tackles a lot of social issues, like feminism, identity and disability. Norma Jean was represented as a strong female with masculine behavior, the story begin by representing her lifting weights while Leroy, her husband is watching her. This automatically sets the stage for Norma Jean as having a superior role in the household. Especially after her husband Leroy’s accident which left him to do nothing but spend time at home doing craft kits and watching his wife....
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