In "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason, compare and contrast Norma Jean and Leroy.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Shiloh," Norma Jean embraces and wants to be a part of the future, while Leroy retreats into and wants to reclaim the past.

The two live in a changing environment.  Their world is changing from rural to urban.  Norma Jean tries to better herself.  She exercises and takes a class at the local college.  She wants a contemporary house.  Leroy dreams of building an old fashioned log cabin.  The two are heading in different directions.

They even exchange gender roles.  Norma Jean becomes the main earner in the home, rejects her mother, and even drives her and her husband to Shiloh near the end of the story.  Leroy, the truck driver, lets his wife drive him around, stays at home keeping busy doing crafts usually performed by women, doesn't work, and sides with Norma Jean's mother, the in-law. 

Their marriage is as dead as the soldiers buried at Shiloh surrounding them when Norma Jean tells him she wants to leave him.