Study Guide

Shiloh Section 7

By Bobbie Ann Mason

Section 7

  • On Sunday, Norma Jean and Leroy finally make the trip to Shiloh. Norma Jean's doing the driving, and they pass the log cabin full of bullet holes that Mabel had mentioned. This is getting ominous.
  • They have a picnic near a cemetery, of all places.
  • Leroy tries to make conversation but feels awkward around his wife, as if he's a boy on a date with an older girl.
  • After they eat, Leroy starts smoking a joint, but he doesn't really get to relax because just then,
  • Norma Jean tells Leroy she wants to leave him.
  • He suggests starting over, and she says they already did start over and this is how they ended up. He asks her if it's a "women's lib" issue, something she denies.
  • Norma Jean says everything was fine until Mabel caught her smoking. Do we think she's being honest here?
  • She says the way both Leroy and her mother treat her makes her feel like she's 18 again, and she can't stand that.
  • Leroy continues smoking the joint and his thoughts zigzag between events related to the Civil War, the local drug bust, Mabel's marriage, and his marriage with Norma Jean.
  • He realizes that he's leaving out a lot, the insides of history.
  • He finally understands that building a log cabin was a terrible idea, but he thinks he can come up with a better one.
  • He sees Norma Jean has walked away and he tries to follow her, but his good leg has fallen asleep and his bad one still hurts him. Poor guy.
  • He sees her far away at the bluff, first facing the Tennessee River and then turning and facing him.
  • She's moving her arms, but he can't tell if she's beckoning to him or doing an exercise for her pectoral muscles.
  • The story ends with Leroy noting that the sky is the color of the dust ruffle that Mabel made for their bed. It's fitting that Leroy is looking up at the sky, since this ending leaves readers somewhat up in the air.

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