What do you do, feel, or even act like when your life is changed from one event maybe not in your life, but in someone else’s? Well that’s what happens to Norma Jean Moffitt in the story “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason. Norma Jean’s husband was the kind of husband who was never home, but at random moments here and there, when he was passing by from trips driving his truck. She was content with this, well in reality she grew to having absolutely no problems with his line of work, until the day came when he couldn”t do his job anymore.Order now
Leroy Moffitt injured his leg in a highway accident and was home ever since he was unable to drive his tractor-trailer. These two people now stuck in one home, married, and to Norma Jean, stuck together under one roof. After awhile Norma Jean realizes she can”t take him being home. She also realizes that she really doesn”t know who her husband is or even was. And in the end does Norma Jean stand at the brink of her freedom, or her own death? Norma Jean I think is standing on the edge of that cliff staring at her death.
Not maybe because she wants to die, but knowing that she has nothing more to look forward, but the reality of the end. Norma Jean was a woman who was content with her life, she was content with her mother still having a large say in how she thought and what she did. She liked the idea her husband wasn”t around, and when that all changed, she changed, Norma Jean changed. The thought of her mother knowing she smoked, she couldn”t have that. So when her mother Mabel finds out, she mentions the one thing that would cause a reaction out of Norma Jean. The memories of the lost child as an infant.
The sad feelings brought back, all to pay her back for seeing her smoking. Then you have the husband, what does he mean to her now? Is there love, lust, hate, and disdain? It makes you wonder though, the ideas that are running through the mind of Norma Jeans how she really feels of her husband. She calls his truck “widow-maker” (p. 762), even though she knows that he probably has been faithful, she still wishes that she could celebrate the homecoming more happily, and the most startling is the fact that she is some what disappointed now to find him when she arrives home.
But lets take a deeper look, maybe it is none of those feeling of love, lust, hate, maybe just maybe by him being gone driving that “widow-maker” it kept her from dealing with reality. Reality of what or how their relationship was before he became a truck driver. The reality of the youthful marriage they had, a young baby lost, and the reality that they really don”t know who each other are. After the death of their son Randy, they never really talked about, never dealt with the issues, the feeling, or the pain. But with him home, Leroy gets the feeling of needing to talk about it, so all he feels is the since of awkwardness.
Leroy has been gone for so long that he who Norma Jean was when he left is how Norma Jean is now, when that isn”t the case. Before he started truck driving he had bough Norma Jean and organ for Christmas. Well the songs that he would have her play then he wanted her to play now, for example songs out of the sixties songbook, or “Can”t take my eye off of you”, “I”ll be back”. After fifteen years he still thinks that Norma Jean is that same girl before he left, when in reality she became someone else. The biggest key in this story to what happens in the end I feel has to deal with the title itself, “Shiloh”.
This a place of a civil war battlefield. This place could represent a number of different things, but I feel that it mean an end. The end of many lives, the end of the war, they use this place as a commemoration of a battle that ended in death and the end of many people. So when Norma Jean and Leroy go there, and that’s where she tells him that she wants a divorce, and all he thinks is he has to think of a new idea, great idea and she will stay. She realizes more, that no matter what, he is in the past, and she can”t move forward, and that this is the end of them, and I think how it ends is the end of her, her life.
I feel that this is significance to how she ends everything. Where a place was the end for so many, it will also be the end of her and the end of her relationship. Norma Jean, did she give up? Did she do what many thought she did, jump to her death? I feel she did. I feel that there is so much that would have led her to feeling there was nothing else left to do. As the story describes, the sky turned unusually pale and I feel that she wasn”t beckoning to Leroy, but was saying her final goodbyes.