Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 2

(This is the cover on the copy I'm using,
except mine is the 11th printing, not the 5th.)
This chapter is all about character development.  Shane has only been with the Starretts for a single day, and already he's changing all their lives.  Joe takes a rare day off, Marian bakes a pie, and Bob... Bob learns that a man can be equally attentive to details of clothing and manners as to farm work.  
And Shane is learning too -- learning that yes, there are good and kind people in this world still.

Favorite Lines:

And the rain outside was a far distance away and meaningless because the friendly feeling in our kitchen was enough to warm all our world (p. 12).

"I can admire toughness.  The right kind" (p. 13).

He was a man like father in whom a boy could believe in the simple knowing that what was beyond comprehension was still clean and solid and right (p. 17).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Do you think the stump is symbolic?  If so, of what?

After the confrontation with the peddler, "Shane's eyes lost their sharp focus on Ledyard and it seemed to me that reflected in them was some pain deep within him (p. 16).  Any thoughts on what that pain might be about?


  1. Some pain deep within him: We see this so often through out the book. The pain I think sometimes is a deep sorrow, perhaps losing his family, perhaps being forced into a draw-down with an impossibly young gunslinger and regretting have had to kill him rather than wound him. Oh - that reminds me, in the final chapter, there's a suggestion that might even prove the latter idea. I'll hold off on the stump, since it carries over into the next chapter.

    Meanwhile, if you want to make the acquaintance of some spoiled, illiterate brats, has numerous posts from one or two dozen 7th graders complaining mostly about the awful, boring "and what's with that stupid stump?" I felt sorry for their teachers

    1. Yes to all of that :-) I kind of feel like it's all bound up in "What kind of person have I become, that people fear me so."

      The internet is rife with spoiled, illiterate brats of all ages, alas :-b

    2. That's interesting.There's that humorous,teasing side of him, patience in talking about women's bonnets,but something has pushed it deep into his soul.Does the Starett family represent some thing lost, or something new that he never had because his earlier reputation prevented it? It surprises me that there doesn't seem to be any anger or bitterness.

    3. Kelda, you're right -- he lacks anger and bitterness about this, just a lot of sadness and resignation. Which, I think, is why Joe senses he is safe.

  2. Okay, I'm confessing something to you. I've never liked the film. Never. But maybe I'll like the book. So I'll see if my library has it and if they do, I'll read along.

    1. Carissa, it is OKAY! My best friend doesn't like the movie either because she hates Brandon De Wilde. That's one advantage books have: you can "cast" them however you like :-)

    2. So, I'm reading along and really starting to enjoy it now that I'm 2 chapters in.

      About the stump. I don't know if it's symbolic of anything. Although I do ponder how Joe joins Shane in trying to rip it up. He can't just stay on the sidelines and watch. You would almost think it was him not wanting to be shown up by a near stranger, but it's really not. As Bob notes of his father, "He was not angry the way he usually was when he confronted one of those roots. There was a kind of serene and contented look on his face." I like that imagery so very much. When tackling a serious problem, it's always best to do it with someone else instead of alone. That way you have support and someone to encourage you. That's what Shane and Joe seem to do for each other here, and if memory serves me right, it could be symbolic if they work together later in the novel.

      As for the deep pain, men like Shane have undoubtedly lost more than they will ever share with others. I don't remember how much we learn about him, but so far he seems to be keeping his private life private, even with people he's obviously starting to count as friends. I do wonder, though, what is needed to make such a man. What hardships and suffering and sorrow to turn a man so cold and terrifying yet warm and helpful all at the same time.

    3. I think that Joe joining Shane is a foreshadowing of sorts -- he doesn't want another man fighting his fight for him. And Shane's going to end up doing that in some ways, so Joe needs to work through whether he's going to accept that or resent it, starting with the stump. I think that by the end of the stump battle, he's accepted Shane as friend and coworker, and that will help him a lot later on.

    4. Ahhhh, see it helps that you've already read the book. I can see that, the two men becoming co-laborers of a sort. That type of work builds trust, especially as we see in the 3rd chapter where Shane literally crawls half under that stump to chop the tap root. He trusted an almost stranger to keep that stump from dropping on him. How amazing is that!?

    5. Carissa, yes, it does, hee. Though I think you said you saw the movie? So you have some idea of what's coming?

      And yes, the trust they build here becomes soooo important. Much more important than removing the stump. Like we see later, where Joe leaves his family in Shane's care for several days. And later when Bob tags along to town with Shane, sure he jumped in the wagon unobserved, but his parents had to have noticed later on that he was gone, and they were obviously perfectly comfortable with him taking off with this dangerous-but-not-to-us man.

  3. My cover! :) (Well, mine is a tighter close-up than the one in this post, but it's the same art-work.)

    Right from the first chapter I knew that I'd like Shane, but this chapter really cemented that. (And every other chapter cemented it further. ;)) I find it both interesting and frustrating that you never really learn anything about his backstory - although I suppose that's part of his character and the aura of intrigue/mystery that surrounds him and the story itself.

    1. Eva, I actually like the cover that you have better, because the orange on this one kinda bugs me (orange being my least-favorite color), but I've had my copy for years and it's all vintage, so I'm stuck with it.

      I'll probably mention this later on too, but I feel like it's realistic that we never find out everything about Shane -- having all the questions answered and his past tied up with a nice bow would be too... fictitious somehow.


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)