A Broken Wing
What is it like to be free? Bobbie Ann Mason, the author of "Shiloh" puts Norma Jean Moffitt through different tests in her life before she can find her freedom. Mason introduces us to a character who yearns to be free from her husband and mother. Throughout Norma Jean's life she has dealt with many difficult and trying times that sometimes may not make sense to her and finally this thirty-four-year-old woman is ready to spread her wings; fly away and see what it is like to be free.
Throughout the story, Norma Jean's desire to be free is evident in tasks that she is taking on that she would not normally do, leaving her mother and husband blind to the fact that change is coming. Norma begins taking a bodybuilding class, an English composition class and a course in cooking exotic foods. These changes in Norma's life are evident to the reader that she is trying to rediscover herself and find her sense of identity. Her husband Leroy takes notice late in the story to this situation and does not understand why she is going through all of these classes. In a conversation with Mabel, the mother of Norma, she explains to Leroy that Norma Jean just is not used to having him home. The classes are giving Norma the space she had while Leroy was working, but they are also the tools she needs to distance herself from Leroy and Mabel.
Not only does Norma Jean want to in a sense fly away from her clueless husband but an overprotective mother keeps Norma's eyes on the sky. As mentioned earlier Norma is thirty-four. Still her mother, Mabel is watching every move she makes. One day Norma is in her house with the door closed and in comes Mabel catching her daughter smoking a cigarette. Norma is found later crying to Leroy how her privacy was invaded by her mother. Norma and Leroy lost a baby when they were eighteen years old due to SIDS. When Mabel hears of a story of neglect, she confronts her daughter and accuses her for the death of their child...
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