The Rotting Wood Cabin
Bobby Ann Mason’s “Shiloh” is the story of a man, a woman, and a deteriorating relationship. The metaphor of the cabin symbolizes their decaying marriage and is used effectively throughout the story. Leroy and Norma Jean have much different views of constructing a log cabin. It’s a constant fight between the two, and eventually, Norma Jean out muscles the unintelligent Leroy.
Leroy, a simple and naïve man, notices that his marriage is beginning to fall apart like a decaying wood cabin in need of fixing. The solution to the problem seems basic and straightforward to Leroy. Through the construction process of building a cabin for Norma Jean, their marriage will strengthen and develop by working hand-in-hand with one another, but she does not want this at all. Since Leroy has been home on medical leave, he has grown to “appreciate how things are put together.”(954) Ever since Leroy and Norma Jean have been married, they never put down a sound foundation because they were never together long enough to establish anything. He fails to see when building a house, the first step that should be completed, is the foundation. Only after the foundation is in place, can one begin to stack the logs of marriage.
Norma Jean and Leroy have much different perspectives about the idea of building a log cabin. When first hearing about the idea, Norma Jean responds, “They won’t let you build a...