Character sketch for Shiloh
In Bobbie Ann Mason's story "Shiloh" she presents the character of Norma Jean as having a strong personality but an emptiness deep within. Norma Jean is presented as a strong character on the outside in the opening of the story. "She lifts three-pound dumbbells to warm-up, the progresses to a twenty-pound barbell."(Mason p. 46). However as the story progresses she exhibits the emptiness which she feels. "One day Leroy arrives home from a drive and finds Norma Jean in tears." (Mason p. 50). Norma Jean feels an emptiness toward her deceased child, her husband, and also her mother. Her emptiness toward her husband may be seen in the way she interacts with him. She feels very uncomfortable when she is around him. Norma Jean is always trying to find something for him to do. When he arrived back home Mason states the "she seems a little disappointed." (Mason p. 47). The emptiness she feels toward her mother is presented in the feelings she has toward her. Her deceased son symbolizes her emptiness because of his death.
In the beginning of the story Norma Jean tries to conceal the emptiness that she has felt for so many years. Mason first presents her as a strong character by explaining how she works out and would like to become stronger. She may become stronger physically, but nothing can overcome the emptiness which she feels. Norma Jean tries to help her husband get a job, and she gives him a variety of ideas for this. She does not enjoy being around him because their relationship makes her feel uncomfortable. Mason presents Norma Jean and Leroy as having many differences. The two do not know how to discuss their problems, therefore Norma Jean conceals all of the emptiness she feels inside her. Norma Jean feels an emptiness towards her husband because he has been gone so long. She has learned how to live without him but, the emptiness settles in due to this. Norma Jean...
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