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"Shiloh"

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Shiloh is a sad story of the two people, Norma Jean Moffitt and her husband Leroy Moffitt, who after the death of their first born son (Randy) never experienced happiness in their marriage. Prior to the death of Randy, when Leroy still held his truck driving job, the couple spent their time watching television at home while enjoying their special delicacies in the company of each other. Nevertheless, things took a different turn when Leroy was injured while driving his truck, long after Randy’s untimely death. Norma Jean and Leroy ended up drifting apart at Shiloh due to series of agonies and adversities emanating from their union. Due to the fact that Shiloh is characterized by tragic episodes, the author makes good use of such a literary device as tone to advance his themes.

Throughout the sections of the book, the author articulately employs series of sad episodes to impact on the attitude of the readers towards the main characters of Jean Moffitt, Leroy Moffitt and Mabel so as to inculcate the desired feeling of remorsefulness and sorrow in readers. Unlike most of the epic stories, the tone of Shiloh is largely characterized by the somber, solemn and serious moods. Voice of Siloh is created by the multiple literary characteristics and helps to reveal the hidden feelings and themes of the story as desired by the author, which will be discussed in the following paper.

Voice plays a significant role in establishing the mood of the story. It prepares the audience to perceive the actual feelings of various characters drawn across the plot of the story. Putting much focus on Norma Jean Moffitt, for instance, the readers will be able to know of her bitterness about the jobless condition of her husband coupled with the death of their son only though the voice. Her verbal and action-oriented resentments channeled towards Leroy Moffitt in regards to his imminent failure and lack of drive to get another job placement after the truck accident is an attestation that joblessness is number one cause of conflict between the couple. Had it not been for the voice, virtually, the readers would not know the actual cause of disagreement between the two characters since the author did not point it out clearly as many readers would expect.

Judging from the remarks made in the course of their heated argument, Norma seems to be fed up by the mere presence of Leroy at home when he is supposed to be working out in the field like other bread winning men did. According to Norma, the purported injury of Leroy received in the truck driving accident is just but a lame excuse. She is convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the lazy and good-for-nothing husband is far capable of providing for the family despite the injury. This is the main reason why Norma Jean, in the company of her mother Mabel, blatantly refused Leroy’s offer to build a log cabin for his family on the ground that the housing unit is not only unpleasant for her but also lowers her dignity.

In other words, the tone of Norma Jean reveals her allusion that her husband is a perennial failure and that he is solely responsible for all her infliction right from the time they settled in marriage against the wishes of her mother Mabel. For this reason, the static round character holds the strong belief that an imminent separation is the only remedy to her lost glory. The resultant wild feeling of freedom and sheer relief from her jobless husband are accompanied with hope and much optimism into the future. It is apparent that the voice of the story tells it all about the intentions of the main characters in Shiloh more than the words, no matter how descriptive and elaborate they may seem.

On the other hand, the true hidden feeling of Leroy Moffitt towards his marriage partner is equally made manifest through voice. The feeling of outright rejection of Norma Jean is plainly expressed in his tone. Just like Norma Jean, he is categorical that his appreciation and inherent goodness for Norma is not reciprocated at all. Even though Norma goes to the roof tops that Leroy is not doing enough to protect her from the prevailing skepticism of Mable, especially when she found her smoking, his corresponding voice goes an extra mile in ascertaining that he is a loving and caring husband contrary to Norma Jean’s speculations that he is an irresponsible and neglecting kind of a husband. The voice rules out such unfounded claims made by her.

The literary technique of voice takes a centre stage in tracing the troubles that tear the marriage between Norma Jean Moffitt and Leroy Moffitt down the middle to the interferences of the disgruntled Mabel, who did not approve of the union from the time her daughter was impregnated by Leroy. As much as the cunning Mabel appears to be so helpful to the Leroy’s family in terms of offering guidance and moral support, it is evident from the voice that she is the one who is working round the clock to see to it that the marriage is wrecked as she always desired. It is strikingly important to note that the hidden intentions of characters such as Mable are revealed through the voice, although we see the explicit use of affirmative words.

Finally, the voice accentuates the theme of grief in the story a notch higher. Despite the fact that Leroy and Norma Jean lost their first born son, Randy, long time ago and they seem to have overcome the loss of their beloved one, the pangs of grief still permeate their consciousness, as did Mabel. In the ordinary sense, the sight of Mabel reminds Leroy of the death of his son since the former was opposed to the teenage pregnancy. Surprisingly enough, anything that has something do with death reminds the two of their deceased son, notwithstanding the context in which the information is being relayed. For instance, when Mable was narrating a nasty story in which a dog attacked and killed an abandoned baby out of the mother’s negligence, both Leroy and Norman Jean are quick to come to a conclusion that they are indeed the subject of discussion and that Mable is telling this particular story to confirm her fears that they were actually responsible for the untimely death of Randy. Consequently, the feelings of grief and bitterness emanating from the death of Randy perpetuated in the lives of Norma Jean and Leroy in Shiloh are apparent though the voice.

In conclusion, tone is a literary device that is created by multiple literary characteristics and reveals various implicit themes of a story such as grief, happiness or sadness. It is a powerful literary device that makes it possible to express the hidden yet inner feelings that otherwise would not be articulated with the explicit use of words. In Shiloh, voice has accentuated the theme of grief, has disclosed the feelings of various characters and has helped prepare the readers to the next episode in the story.

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  1. "The Good Man"
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