What are some symbols and uses of irony in "Shiloh" by Bobbie Ann Mason? Provide quotes as proof.

Symbols used in "Shiloh" include the Shiloh battlefield memorial and the unfinished house. The irony is that Leroy imagines his actions are strengthening their marriage, but his plans show that he does not understand his wife, who intends to leave him.

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In Bobbie Ann Mason’s story of a disintegrating marriage, the Shiloh battlefield that gives the story its name is one important symbol. Another key symbol is the house that Leroy wants to build but can never apply himself to finishing. The house is also connected to the story’s central ...

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In Bobbie Ann Mason’s story of a disintegrating marriage, the Shiloh battlefield that gives the story its name is one important symbol. Another key symbol is the house that Leroy wants to build but can never apply himself to finishing. The house is also connected to the story’s central irony, which concerns the disconnection between husband and wife. Because Leroy does not understand Norma Jean, his plans do not bring them closer together or resolve the problems in their marriage. Instead, his plans drive them farther apart and contribute to her decision to leave him.

Leroy and Norma Jean visit the battlefield memorial as a second honeymoon that will bring them closer together. The battlefield symbolizes the rift in their marriage, as it commemorates the US Civil War.

Leroy, whose disability keeps him from working at his usual job of long-distance trucker, is confined within the couple’s house. He tries to expand his craft activities into a larger project of building a house. He tells himself that Norma Jean wants the security of a house and that finishing it will resolve problems. Instead, a house represents confinement to her. As the house symbolizes different things to each of them, it also stands for the gap between them. The house’s symbolism figures into Leroy’s final realization of his inadequate understanding.

It occurs to him that building a house out of logs is similarly empty—too simple. And the real inner workings of a marriage, like most of history, have escaped him. Now he sees that building a log house was the dumbest idea he could have had.

The irony of the story is connected with their miscommunications and differing perceptions of marriage. He believes that staying home has been good for them, but she resents his constant presence. Norma Jean says that "in some ways, a woman prefers a man who wanders." This realization further leads her to see that she does not want to live with him.

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