Study Guide

Shiloh Section 2

By Bobbie Ann Mason

Section 2

  • Leroy's life in the lame brain lane continues… He buys marijuana from Stevie Hamilton, the son of a former schoolmate, who is now a doctor living in one of the fancy schmancy subdivisions.
  • Leroy tries to talk to Stevie about his plans to build a log cabin. Borrrring. Stevie seems even less interested, if that's possible, than Norma Jean.
  • A quick detour to the early days of the Moffatt marriage, where we learn that Leroy and Norma Jean, who are now 34, got married when they were 18, just a few months before Randy was born. Shotgun wedding, anyone?
  • While Norma Jean and Leroy were watching a movie at the drive-in, Randy died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Back to the present…When Leroy returns home, his mother-in-law, Mabel Beasley, is at the house. Again.
  • Mabel gives Norma Jean an off-white dust ruffle that she made in the custom upholstery shop where she works, and Leroy jokes that they can use it to hide things under the bed.
  • Mabel isn't laughing, which is understandable. You try laughing when you've been carrying a grudge for 16 years. We learn she still resents Leroy for getting Norma Jean pregnant and felt fate was mocking her when Randy died.
  • Mabel makes fun of Leroy's Star Trek needlepoint pillow cover, saying sewing is something a woman should do. We guess not everyone can appreciate a man boldly going where no man has gone before.
  • Leroy responds that it's something all the big football players do. And for the third time, he announces his plans to build a cabin.
  • Unfortunately for Leroy, the third time is not the charm. Norma Jean says the first thing he needs to do is get a job and besides, no one can afford to build now.
  • Mabel urges them to take a trip to Shiloh, the Civil War battlefield in Tennessee, where she and her late husband, Jeff Beasley, went on their honeymoon. (If your relationship is on the rocks, you can take your own virtual trip to Shiloh here.)
  • When Mabel leaves, Norma Jean reads to Leroy from a list she's made of possible jobs he could do, but he makes excuses about why each and every one of them is no good.
  • He reminds her of his intentions to build her a house, but she reminds him—surprise, surprise—she's not interested.
  • This section ends with Norma Jean marching through the kitchen wearing ankle weights.