Study Guide

Shiloh Drugs and Alcohol

By Bobbie Ann Mason

Drugs and Alcohol

It's clear that for Leroy, smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol are daily habits that contribute to his inability to face reality and cope with it in constructive ways. For Leroy, substance abuse is a way of engineering his reality. When he was driving a rig, he took speed, but now that he's back home, he buys marijuana from a kid in the neighborhood because "he needs to be mellow" (2.8). In "Shiloh," Drugs and alcohol help Leroy relax, but they also add to his mental confusion and physical laziness, qualities that remove him further from his mentally sharp and physically active wife.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. When Norma Jean and Leroy share a beer, does it help them get closer?
  2. Are there any points in the story where drugs and/or alcohol play a positive role? If so, provide examples and explain.
  3. What does the drug deal between Leroy and Stevie Hamilton reveal about each of the characters?

Chew on This

Leroy's drug and alcohol use are contributing factors to the destruction of his marriage.

Norma Jean doesn't comment on Leroy's drug and alcohol use; does that mean that she doesn't mind it?