Posted: February 15th, 2023

Identify two examples of symbolism in “Shiloh” and briefly explain each examples contribution to the story. 

Symbolism is often used to add depth and meaning to literature, which helps the reader interpret the underlying messages of a story. In Bobbie Ann Mason’s short story “Shiloh”, symbolism plays an important role in conveying the emotions of characters and providing insight into elements of their lives. The two main examples of symbolism are Norma Jean’s broken plate collection and Leroy Moffitt’s truck.

Identify two examples of symbolism in “Shiloh” and briefly explain each examples contribution to the story.

Norma Jean’s broken plate collection serves as a symbol for her relationship with Leroy. She collects bits of broken china plates wherever she goes, whether it be from thrift stores or estate sales, seemingly without purpose. However, this seemingly random habit reflects how she perceives her marriage; something that was once beautiful but has now been shattered into pieces that can never be put back together again. By collecting these shards of broken plates and displaying them in her house, Norma Jean is mourning the loss of what once was while also acknowledging its potential for something new and beautiful if it were ever put back together – much like her marriage with Leroy. This symbolism serves to illustrate both Norma Jean’s feelings towards Leroy as well as his own feelings about their current situation: although things may never return to what they once were, there is still hope that something new can come out of the ruins if they are willing to work at it.

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The second example is Leroy Moffitt’s truck – a 1975 Ford F-150 he purchased from his uncle’s farm shortly after returning from Vietnam when he first married Norma Jean. Throughout the story this truck serves as a symbol for his life before becoming aware of his wife’s affair with another man -as mentioned throughout the story “Leroy had taken care of [the truck] like an old friend.” It represents stability, reliability and permanence – three qualities which have all but vanished from his life due to recent events by making him feel secure in comparison with feeling lost within his failing marriage . After finding out about Norma Jean’s infidelity however he begins neglecting himself &his trucks maintenance thus symbolizing his newfound vulnerability & emotional turmoil caused by mistrust& emptiness-which ultimately leads him towards accepting reality &seeking closure through open conversation specificall towards end when Moe insists on fixing/repairing her husband’s car “come spring”. Throughout this symbology we learn more about both character’s emotional journey &development throughout plot line which contributes immensely towards giving us deeper insight onto not only our protagonist couple but also background stories .It further helps readers form connections between characters’ past experiences& present state by emphasizing importance loyalty commitment ,trustworthiness ,emotional stability etc…thereby making them relate emotionally each other despite having different circumstances/life experiences than theirs

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Overall these symbols play an important role in Mason’s “Shiloh” by allowing readers to gain insight into characters’ psychological states over trajectory plot line . They help emphasize themes such as guilt ,secrets betrayal inherent instability at interpersonal relationships &importance mutual respect trustworthiness commitment within marriages all while maintaining constant reminder normality family unit even amidst chaos confusion surrounding certain situations

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