Bobbie Ann Mason is an American writer and novelist. She wrote many short stories and novels. She won many awards and recognition for all her hard work, including in 2016, Mason was the second living author inducted in the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.
In her short story, “Shiloh,” Mason uses many building blocks of fiction. In this journal entry, I am going to talk about theme, symbol and motif throughout the story. I will show how Mason uses these building blocks to create a meaningful story.
First, Mason uses theme of a switch in gender roles between Leroy Moffitt and his wife Norma Jean. In the story, Leroy injured his leg in an accident a few months ago and now sits around the house like a housewife. He sits at home and build little things from kits and sews a Star Trek pillow cover, which Mabel refers to as what a woman would do. These are things that would most likely seem like what the woman is supposed to do. Norma started lifting weights after Leroy got hurt and always talks about her muscles and goes to body building classes. She seems to be taking on the male role because that is stereotypically what the male does. Leroy complains about taking a job that he would have to …show more content…
The first song Norma plays “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”, indicating the way Norma may have felt about Leroy in the beginning of their marriage. Then Norma plays “I’ll Be Back”, in the story it says that after fifteen years of Leroy being on the road, he is finally settling down with the woman he loves. As Norma continues playing songs throughout the story, it seems to start getting to the bad end of their marriage. Norma plays, “Who’ll Be Next in Line”? and “Sunshine Superman”, maybe indicating that she wants to move on and find her superman because Leroy is no superman. Soon Norma just stops playing music at all, showing that she is probably just done with their
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The first song played is “The Sounds of Silence,” which is somber and melancholy with its soft voices and instruments. The song plays along with a dull and repetitive recording while Ben stands alone on the moving walkway at the busy LAX airport. The song’s lyrics reinforce Ben’s feeling of isolation, “And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening” (Nichols 00:01:34). Right away the unhappy music and lyrics give the feeling that Ben is absent from his life and is surrounded by people that have nothing important to say. The song establishes the anxiety that Ben will experience throughout the film which is that of not being able to connect with the generation above him and worrying that his own generation is becoming a superficial and apathetic culture. Later, there is a montage that uses “Sounds of Silence” and transitions into “April Come She Will.” The montage shows Ben going through his monotonous daily routine and then meeting up with Mrs. Robinson for their loveless affairs. The music reminds the audience how detached Ben is even in an activity that should be intimate. “April Come She Will” plays while Ben walks back and forth between the worlds of Mrs. Robinson and his parents, neither of which he is pleased with. This song is about a love burning
Bobbie Ann Mason’s “Shiloh” follows Leroy and Norma Jean Moffitt, a husband and wife, and their struggling marriage. In the beginning they had a typical marriage, and then as bother her and her husband evolve, Norma Jean questions her marriage and who her husband is. Norma Jean finds herself struggling to make sense of her marriage, and Leroy struggles to move beyond his accident. Through plot structure and third person dramatic point of view, Mason explores the issues of evolving and changing gender roles within a marriage.
Bobbie Ann Mason, DiYanni, R. (Ch 3.) Shiloh (p. 67-76) & Literature Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. (2007). New York:NY McGraw-Hill
...ntence. Some critics read the title of Faulkner's novel as a challenge to the reader, in that, as "a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing," the book defies traditional literary understanding. Faulkner ends the novel with Benjy howling, fulfilling the line from "Macbeth," but after that has an image of order. The form of narrative, and not the content of life, is the only chance for order in the world. A new framing device of literary technique replaces the conventional teleological frame. The novel moves from Good Friday to Easter, from the innocence of Benjy's opening section to the omniscience of Faulkner's (or Dilsey's) concluding section. While Perry Mason and Benjy's howl seemingly signify nothing, the precision of authorial control reveals the deep material of the past in each novel from which we can attribute meaning.
In Bobbie Ann Mason’s Shiloh there are only a handful of characters. She tells the story of a husband (Leroy) and wife (Norma Jean) and their troubled marriage. Mason’s tale is narrated through the eyes of Leroy. This first person narrative and limited point of view masks Norma Jean’s need for, and thoughts of independence. Additionally, the story uses the symbols of a log cabin, a dust ruffle, and the title Shiloh to reinforce Norma Jean and Leroy’s dysfunctionality.
In the novel Shiloh, historian and Civil War expert Shelby Foote delivers a spare, unflinching account of the battle of Shiloh, which was fought over the course of two days in April 1862. By mirroring the troops' movements through the woods of Tennessee with the activity of each soldier's mind, Foote offers the reader a broad perspective of the battle and a detailed view of the issues behind it. The battle becomes tangible as Foote interweaves the observations of Union and Confederate officers, simple foot soldiers, brave men, and cowards and describes the roar of the muskets and the haze of the gun smoke. The author's vivid storytelling creates a rich chronicle of a pivotal battle in American history.
Over the past few months in class we have learned about many aspects of literature. Some examples of them are characterization, setting, style, tone, allegory, theme, and symbolism. I chose to write this essay about the symbolism aspect that is featured in so many great works of literature. Two such stories that we have read in which symbolism is demonstrated is in The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck, and The Worker in Sandalwood by Majorie Pickthall.
The setting in the short story “Shiloh” by Bobbie Ann Mason works well to accentuate the theme of the story. 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.
Symbolism is commonly used by authors that make short stories. Guin is a prime example of how much symbolism is used in short stories such as “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and “Sur.” In both of these stories Guin uses symbolism to show hidden meanings and ideas. In “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” there is a perfect Utopian city, yet in this perfect city there is a child locked in a broom closet and it is never let out. A few people leave the city when they find out about the child, but most people stay. Furthermore, in “Sur” there is a group of girls that travel to the South Pole and reach it before anyone else, yet they leave no sign or marker at the South Pole. Guin’s stories are very farfetched and use many symbols. Both “Sur” and “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” have many symbols such as colors, characters, objects, and weather. The four types of symbols that Guin uses help the readers understand the themes in her short stories. Although her stories are farfetched, they need symbolism in them or the reader would not understand the theme; therefore the symbols make Guin’s stories much more enjoyable.
In a well-written short story, different literary elements and terms are incorporated into the story by the author. Ernest Hemingway frequently uses various literary elements in his writing to entice the reader and enhance each piece that he writes. In Hills Like White Elephants, Hemingway uses symbols to teach the reader certain things that one may encounter during daily life. Symbolism may be defined as relating to, using, or proceeding by means of symbols (Princeton). The use of symbols in Hills Like White Elephants is utterly important to the plot line and to the fundamental meaning of the story. Through this use of symbolism, the reader can begin to reveal the hidden themes in this short story.
The story is the most powerful and most compelling form of human expression in Leslie Marmon Silko's novel Ceremony. Stories reside within every part of every thing; they are essentially organic. Stories are embedded with the potential to express the sublime strength of humanity as well as the dark heart and hunger for self destruction. The process of creating and interpreting stories is an ancient, ongoing, arduous, entangled, but ultimately rewarding experience. As Tayo begins to unravel his own troubled story and is led and is led toward this discovery, the reader is also encouraged on a more expansive level to undertake a similar interpretive journey. Each story is inextricably bound to a virtually endless narrative chain. While reaching an epiphanal moment, a moment of complete clarity, l is by no means guaranteed, by presenting Tayo as an example, Silko at least suggests there is fundamental worth in pursuing and creating stories.
While reading short stories, two stood out: Ernest Hemingway’s Hills Like White Elephants and Raymond Carver’s Cathedral. The themes in both stories are powerful and convey strong messages that really pose existential thoughts. Not only is each story’s theme attention grabbing, but so is the common and reoccurring use of symbolism throughout the stories. They did not just use the Element of Fiction symbolism, but even used one common symbol. Ernest Hemingway’s story Hills Like White Elephants and Raymond Carver’s story Cathedral each contain existential and similar themes such as talking versus communicating and looking versus seeing, as well as demonstrating creative and comparable symbolism throughout.
Mason, Bobbi Ann. "Shiloh." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Sixth edition. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. 495, 496, 500.