The Log Cabin In ?Shiloh? Essay, Research Paper
Many assumptions can be made about what the log cabin symbolizes or what its significance is in the story. However, one correlation stands out stronger than any other in my mind. The log cabin is a symbol of the state of Leroy?s and Norma Jean?s relationship. Leroy, throughout it all, as he struggles to convince Norma Jean that she would really like a log cabin because that is what he strives to give her, is also fighting to save their marriage; just as he desires to have her understand and want their relationship. If the word log cabin is replaced with either relationship or marriage the translation should not change any of the meaning in the story and in the majority of cases makes perfect sense.
The first time that there is mention of the log cabin, the author states, ??he is thinking about building a full scale log house from a kit. ?Leroy has grown to appreciate how things are put together,? (731). Leroy is longing for a complete relationship with Norma Jean, one in which he feels needed and wanted by her, as he does not feel now. He desires to build this on the foundation that they have built over the last sixteen years. Leroy has always had a lot of time to think about their marriage, but not a lot of time to put anything into it. He is finally available to work full time on their marriage since he will not be gone as often.
Leroy shows that he notices everything that is lacking by his thoughts that are disclosed on page 731, ?He has this feeling that they are waking up out of a dream together-they must create a new marriage, start afresh,? (731). This statement supports the second phrase of the quote in previous paragraph. He realizes that their experiences over the last years have shaped their relationship into what it is now, and he is now attempting to focus on the future, to build their relationship.
??I?m aiming to build us a log house,? says Leroy. ?Soon as my plans come.? ?Like heck you are,? says Norma Jean? (734). Leroy is still attempting to mend their relationship. However, he does not know what Norma Jean wants. He has a desire to build this wondrous relationship between the two of them. However he is procrastinating, almost as if he is waiting for the answer to fall into his lap. He does not know what will, or does make her happy. Though in his own ways he continues to make attempts to let her know that he cares for her and wants to build something with her.
The response that Norma Jean gives him reflects the changes that she is undergoing in her life right now. She is beginning to show her frustration with his laziness and non-progression in life or in their marriage. She is focusing on herself and not on the relationship at this point. She wishes and longs for Leroy to make advances in his life. However, the way that his life stands right now, and the direction in which it seems to be heading are not prompting her to have a strong desire to continue the relationship with him. It seems that by this point, she has already made the decision to leave Leroy; however, she is holding off until better timing presents itself.
? ?I?m going to build you this house? says Leroy. ?I want to make you a real home.? ?I don?t want to live in any log cabin,? states Norma Jean? (734). At this point, Leroy still believes that there is a possibility that he can make their marriage work. On page 736, Leroy states that he notices that there are many things that are needed in their relationship, such as communication. He talks about how, for a fleeting moment, he feels the need to tell Norma Jean everything about himself. But there is a disruption and he forgets what or why he needed to tell her.
At this point Norma Jean expresses her lack of fulfillment in their relationship. She attempts to tell him that she does not want from him what he desires from her. She is not interested in the things that he wants to give her and does not even share the same interests.
??I want to make her this beautiful home,? Leroy says, indicating the Lincoln Logs. ?I don?t think she even wants it. Maybe she was happier with me gone.?? (737). At this point he is finally coming to realize that there are a lot of differences in their opinions of their relationship and their personalities. She is no longer carrying the same habits as before. Leroy begins to notice that Norma Jean is constantly correcting him and never wants to share any experiences with him. She her views and lifestyle have changed extremely over the years, and Leroy just not fit into it anymore. However, he still attempts to work everything out in his head, to create the perfect environment for Norma Jean. However, he is finally beginning to listen to what she has been telling him since he moved home. Norma Jean does not want a log cabin, and she may not even want him.
?Now he sees that building a log house is the dumbest idea he could have had. It was clumsy of him to think Norma Jean would want a log house,? (740). This is when he realizes that their relationship is not going to be mended like new, or shaped into the mold he has been so desperately trying to fit it into. Norma Jean is moving on and does not need, or want, his relationship. Ever since Leroy moved home, she has been bothered or upset by him being there for her and by him trying to mend their problems. She has moved onto bigger and better things. She is doing more for herself than Leroy could ever give her, and it was stupid of him to think that she could ever survive with just him.
Leroy has never been able to give Norma Jean what she wanted. It appears that she has never been entirely contented with their marriage. She desires more from the world, something Leroy cannot give her and does not want to attempt.
The cabin also represents Norma Jean?s view on their relationship and her ties to it. Every time the log cabin is mentioned she becomes more adamant that that she does not desire to have one and that he will not be building her one. And slowly but surely Leroy begins to realize this. It seems that she married Leroy because she got pregnant and the fact that he was always gone made their marriage last as long as it did. During that time frame she has done things to make him happy and to make his life easier. She slowly begins to break away from that habit. She is thinking of herself and not of his wants and needs.
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