Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason

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Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason

Character Sketch

In Bobbie Ann Mason’s story “Shiloh” she presents the character of Norma Jean

as having a strong personality but an emptiness deep within. Norma Jean is presented as

a strong character on the outside in the opening of the story. “She lifts three-pound

dumbbells to warm-up, the progresses to a twenty-pound barbell.”(Mason p. 46).

However as the story progresses she exhibits the emptiness which she feels. “One day

Leroy arrives home from a drive and finds Norma Jean in tears.” (Mason p. 50). Norma

Jean feels an emptiness toward her deceased child, her husband, and also her mother.

Her emptiness toward her husband may be seen in the way she interacts with him. She

feels very uncomfortable when she is around him. Norma Jean is always trying to find

something for him to do. When he arrived back home Mason states the “she seems a

little disappointed.” (Mason p. 47). The emptiness she feels toward her mother is

presented in the feelings she has toward her. Her deceased son symbolizes her emptiness

because of his death.

In the beginning of the story Norma Jean tries to conceal the emptiness that she

has felt for so many years. Mason first presents her as a strong character by explaining

how she works out and would like to become stronger. She may become stronger

physically, but nothing can overcome the emptiness which she feels. Norma Jean tries to

help her husband get a job, and she gives him a variety...

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how leroy arrives home from a drive and finds norma jean in tears.
  • Narrates how she helps her husband get a job, and gives him ideas for this.
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