"Shiloh" Symbolism and Figurative Language

Topics: Marriage, Husband, Wife Pages: 4 (1387 words) Published: October 22, 2014

Symbol and figurative language

There are many examples of symbolism and figurative language in Bobbie Ann Mason's short story "Shiloh." The importance of names: the main character is Leroy Moffitt, his wife is Norma Jean, her mother is Mabel, and their deceased son, who died of sudden infant death syndrome at the age of 4 months, is Randy. In the story, Norma Jean says to Leroy, while doing her studies for school, "Your name means the king." Leroy questions his place in their relationship, "Am I still the king around here?" She assures him she is not cheating on him, but his questioning is coming from a deeper place. Leroy is worried that he is not the powerful husband that he should be to his wife, and he can tell. Going back to the beginning of the story, Norma Jean "reminds Leroy of Wonder Woman," foreshadowing the reverse of roles the couples face after Leroy's accident. Leroy injured his leg in a highway accident and he will most likely never be able to drive his big rig again. Leroy's big rig is another major symbol in the story. The big rig is mentioned at the start of the story, "It sits in the backyard, like a gigantic bird that has come home to roost," symbolizing Leroy's homecoming, and that he is not leaving any time soon, like he always did. The big rig is also referred to as a "widow-maker" as Leroy tells of how this is something Norma Jean didn't ever say; she supported his travels and his job. Another statement of the big rig is made, "Leroy looks out the window at his rig. It is like a huge piece of furniture gathering dust in the backyard. Pretty soon it will be an antique." Leroy has retired the thought in his mind that he will ever drive his truck again. Leroy replaces his driving days with staying home and doing crafts and needlepoint. Mabel tells Leroy, "That's what a woman would do." These stereotypical hobbies are that of women. On the other hand, Norma Jean begins taking on more masculine roles, such as...
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