Shiloh Essay

1149 words - 5 pages

The Second Battle of Shiloh
     The switch to college life can definitely change people. In high school, one makes
friends that will hopefully last a lifetime. Then comes senior year, and after all the college
admissions letters have been received, one must face the realization that his/her best
friends will not be by their side 24 hours a day / 7 days a week any longer. Still ecstatic by
what this new life, college, holds for them, students enter into their chosen institute of
higher learning. Do you remember that first break, or long weekend, that brings everyone
back to the place where they grew up? Its a chance to look back and catch up on old
times, even though you’ve only been separated for a month or two. Whether coming
home from UGA, Tech, or even some out-of-state college, that drive home gives one time
to reflect. Will my friends who I graduated with be the same friends who I know and
love? Like I said, college alters people, and the first time you see old friends, you might
realize that your best friends are not who they once were. Although painful, this is a
process that is natural. Friends change, and friends move on with their lives, regardless of
your presence. On a larger scale, this is the dilemma brought to the readers attention by
Bobbie Ann Mason, author of “Shiloh”.
     In Mason’s “Shiloh”, Leroy and Norma Jean Moffitt are a married couple living in
Paducah, Kentucky. Leroy has spent the past 15 years driving a tractor-trailer across the
country. Four months ago, Leroy was involved in a highway accident that required steel
pins to be placed in his hip. He returned home to rest and rehabilitate his leg. He is
confined to his house, something that he hasn’t seen for an extended period since he’s
been on the road. Like a college student, this is Leroy’s long weekend. Leroy comes
home to his wife, Norma Jean, hoping that she will be the same person he left many years
before. Unfortunately for Leroy, Norma Jean has moved on with her life, much like
friends who move on after high school graduation. Leroy would like for things to be the
way they were, but Norma Jean has chosen a different course in her life that doesn’t
involve Leroy. She works at the Rexall Drug Store, loves to play music, and is taking
classes in composition at Paducah Community College. Bobbie Ann Mason uses literary
devices in her story to tell of the impending divorce of Leroy and Norma Jean. The use of
symbolism and foreshadowing are both used to clue the reader into the eventual fate of the
Moffitt’s marriage:
     Sitting in his Paducah, Kentucky home, Leroy stares towards the backyard where
his rig is parked. He says it looks “like a gigantic bird that has flown home to roost”
(Mason 46). This quote symbolizes that the leader of the home has returned, but sadly,
Leroy is misinformed. In fact, he is scared of what the future holds. To pass the...

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