Shiloh 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. Leroy Moffit is a truck driver, and over the years as his wife Norma Jean is adapting to the changing community his adaptation to things consist of pretty much the way he drives his truck.

During this time Norma Jean is left at home to fend for herself and learn the workings of nearly being a single woman. Norma Jean started to play the organ again, practice weight lifting, and take night classes. When Leroy came home after years of being saturated in his work he expected things to be like they were in the beginning of their marriage. As time goes on at home, Leroy takes notice to Norma Jean’s keen, and independent understanding of what goes on around her. He observes and is afraid to admit that she has had to be her own husband.

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Over the years Norma Jean developed a structured routine that does not include him. As Leroy sits around and plays with a model log cabin set Norma is constantly working to advance and adapt herself with the changing environment. Leroy slowly falls behind causing the marriage to pull apart. The small town in which they live is continually growing through housing developments, shopping centers, and population. Leroy took a drive one day around his community, suddenly he realized how much it had changed over the years and yet he failed to notice, as he failed to notice Norma Jean changing. As Leroy remained stationary the community and his wife continued advancing together adapting to the changes of the working world.

Setting also comes into play by supporting the theme in the latter part of the story when Leroy and Norma Jean travel to a civil war battleground named Shiloh. On this ground a battle took place due to the clashing of two sides. One side was unwilling to adapt, similar to Leroy’s unwillingness. While they are at the battle ground Norma Jean tells Leroy that their marriage is over, like she is ending a war that has been going on for too long. The setting of the battleground accentuates the decline of Norma Jean and Leroy’s marriage ultimately coming to an end.

The story of “Shiloh” is an example of what happens when a person is unwilling to adapt to his or her environment, ultimately resulting in a conflict and an ending. As Norma Jean adapts to her environment, Leroy is unwilling to adapt and is left behind resulting as the end of their marriage. The setting in the story of “Shiloh” supports the theme of the story by accentuating on what the characters do throughout the sequence of the story. An institution such as marriage that requires congruence in working with each other and advancing at a pace similar to the environment around you cannot be successful if one is not willing to adapt. English Essays.


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