In his intense novel Shane, Jack Schaefer surprises readers by introducing a subplot that revolves around the romantic feelings between the two characters, Shane and Marian. In chapter eight of the novel, Schaefer allows the chemistry to surface in an interaction that develops the character’s feelings and candor, contributes to the plot of the novel, and partially resolves the conflict of the subplot. The writer uses those purposes through his effective use of imagery, allusion, and sound devices such as alliteration and assonance.
The chapter eight scene begins with the narrator Bob sneaking into his mother Marian’s kitchen to steal cookies after school. Bob overhears the conversation between his mom and Shane, giving readers a doorway into the intensity of the conflict: a brewing romance. This subplot has many purposes whether to add to the plot or symbolize something beyond the literal meaning.
One purpose of this passage is to expose Shane’s character in a more in depth way. For one of the few times in the book the reader gets to see a different side of Shane not usually seen openly. Usually Shane’s persona is tough and guarded but he has a weakness for Marian making him tender in Bob’s eyes for the first time. Bob narrates this moment when he overhears Shane’s and Marian’s conversation and sees Shane talking to Marian with, “a tenderness he had in his eyes,” for only her. This sensitivity is dangerous to the subplot and the delicate balance between their relationship to each other and their relationships to Joe.
Another purpose of this passage is to advance the main plot of the novel. Schaefer uses foreshadowing to do this by foretelling of conflicts or possible victories to come. A conflict may happen soon thanks to when Marian told Shane, “You’re worried about what you might do if there’s any more fighting.” When she says this the reader can infer that there will be more fighting later on in the novel. A possible...
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