Shiloh and Other Stories Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What are the central themes in the stories of Bobbie Ann Mason’s anthology?

Typical of realistic writing generally, Mason's first collection of short stories is strongly oriented toward documenting the social lives of her characters. In Mason's version of life in western Kentucky, these concerns are predominantly economic and familial.

2. What constitutes the basic plot line of “Shiloh”? What is the story essentially about?

This story is about the life of a couple that does not know how to communicate. It is about a tragedy, and how it affects the couple even fifteen years later. It is also about how two people grow apart, as they get older, because neither knows how to communicate.

3. How are the characters of Norma Jean and Leroy described in “Shiloh”?

The way the story is written, it seems as if Leroy and his wife, Norma Jean, are acquaintances, not really knowing the other one. The awkwardness is present throughout the story. These are two very different people, void of any interests to hold them together.

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