A Feminist View on "Shiloh"

Essay by squirlygirlUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2004

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A Feminist View on "Shiloh"

by Bobbie Ann Mason

In the story Shiloh Leroy and Norma Jean, two very loving people, just can't seem to keep their relationship going Leroy, who has recently given up on truck driving due to an accident, noticed that everything around him is changing, except for himself. This includes Norma Jean, she has picked up several new habits. The theme portrayed by Mason is that most people change along with their environment, with the exception of the few who are unwilling to adapt making it difficult for things such as marriage to work out successfully. These difficulties are apparent in Norma Jean and Leroy's marriage. As Norma Jean advances herself, their marriage ultimately collapses due to Leroy's unwillingness to adapt with her and the changing environment.

In this story the stereotypical gender roles reverse. The male, Leroy, is seen as a lazy and weak; and although he has good intentions, he fails to give Norma Jean the things she needs.

He seems to be slightly feminine in that he watches daytime talk shows and wants to talk about his emotions. Since his accident, he has stayed at home without a job and built crafts such as string art, an macrame owl, a model truck lamp, a B-17 model, and a mini log cabin out of Popsicle sticks. The female, Norma Jean, begins sounding like a normal woman; although, later in the story more and more masculine qualities show. She is attending body building class, and almost seems obsessed with working out. She also smokes cigarettes and uses more slang than the other characters, which are both masculine. She is action orientated, like many men, and she is the only one in the relationship that has a job. She is almost seen as...