Short Story Anaylisis

"Shiloh" by Bobbie Anne Mason

Critical Biography

Bobbie Anne Mason

  • Born: May 1, 1940 Mayfield, Kentucky

  • Education: University of Kentucky B.A. 1962, State of New York at Birmingham M.A. 1966, and University of Connecticut Ph.D. 1972.

Her Works

  • 1982- “Shiloh and Other Stories”

  • 1985- “In Country” (novel)

  • 1988- “Spence + Lila”

  • 1989- “Love Life: Stories”

  • 1993- “Feather Crowns” (novel)


  • She received critical acclaim for "Shiloh" (1982) her first story which described the life of working class people in a shifting.
  • The stories she wrote were about actual people she knew.

("Mason, Ann Bobbie." )

("Bobbie Anne Mason.")


Norma Jean and Leroy Moffitt are a married couple living in Kentucky. Norma works at a store and lifts weights. Leroy is home from his truck driving job because of an accident. In his free time, he builds toys out of craft kits. When Norma was young, she got pregnant with their son Randy, who died as an infant. Ever since Randy died their marriage has never been the same. Mabel is Norma's mother. She comes to the house whenever she pleases to clean and complain to Norma. Mabel often suggests that Leroy and Norma go to Shiloh. One day Mabel comes over without warning and catches Mabel smoking a joint. After this, Leroy and Norma finally decide to go to Shiloh. They eat a picnic where Norma tells Leroy she no longer wants to be with him. She walks away and looks out over the bluff.
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Analysis of Theme

One of the major themes I noticed in "Shiloh" was the theme of death and guilt how it changes people's personalities, hobbies, and goals in life. In this story the author states how ever since the death of their son Randy their marriage has never been the same. “Mabel Norma's mother mentions how she saw on the news that a dog chewed off a baby’s legs and the mother was in the next room.” By saying this statement Norma's mother was hinting a Norma for killing Randy. This just makes Norma feel more guilt and shame. Mabel sees that Norma and Leroy’s marriage is falling apart so she suggests that they go to Shiloh Battleground. By the end of the story the guilt and grief of death tears them apart. Death can change how you feel towards someone or something. Death of infants can tend to mess things up because every time you look at that one person it can remind you of what you have lost. In the beginning of the story it tells us that Leroy wasn’t home because of his truck driving job. When he was in the accident he was at home all the time and before this they didn’t have to see each other as much, so the more time they spend together the more they disliked each other and the more the thought of Randy came up. “The death of old selves, identities, and roles, and, finally, the death of the Moffits marriage” (“Shiloh.” page 308).

Works Cited

"Bobbie Anne Mason." LItFinder Contemporary Collection. Detroit Gale, 2010. LItFinder. Web. 10 May 2016.

"Mason, Ann Bobbie." Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1995. Contum Peray Literary Critisism Online. Web. 2 May 2016.

Mason, Bobbie. (Shiloh.) blogspot. English204-DCC. 3 May 2011. Web. 10 May 2016.

"Shiloh." Short Stories for Students. Ed. Kathleen Wilson. Vol. 3. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 307- 308. Print.