At any time is Leroy's narrative "intrusive" in "Shiloh"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This short story uses a particular point of view to present the story of Leroy and his wife. The narrator is external to the story, and the tale is told in the third person. However, it is limited in that the point of view focuses on Leroy's thoughts and feelings alone, rather than an omniscient point of view, which would allow the reader access to the thoughts and feelings of all the characters. This means that the reader witnesses Norma Jean's transformation through the eyes of Leroy alone, who shares his bafflement and lack of understanding with the reader as he watches the woman he thought he knew transform into somebody completely different. Note how this is expressed in the following quote:

Something is happening. Norma Jean is going to night school. She has graduated from her six-week body-building course and now she is taking an adult-education course in composition at Paducah Community College. She spends her evenings outlining paragraphs.

Consider how this quote expresses Leroy's complete lack of understanding about what is happening to his wife and the transformation that is occurring within her. The incredulity of the last sentence clearly shows how he finds her new course bizarre and he cannot understand why she would want to embark on this new course. The third sentence clearly connects this course to her body-building course, which again Leroy is baffed by. The point of view therefore is intrusive in a sense because the reader is only privy to Leroy's thoughts and feelings about Norma Jean and what is happening to her, and to a certain extent the reader is impacted by this limited, partial perspective.

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