Saturday, January 23, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 5

Time passes, Shane and the Starretts fall into a happy and mutually beneficial relationship, and everything goes well.  Did you notice that Joe left the homestead in Shane's care for several days, including his wife and child?  It's not made a big deal of, since this is told from a child's perspective, but you know Joe must trust Shane wholeheartedly to leave his wife alone with this man for several days.  And Marian must too, if she's comfortable doing so.  Shane certainly is a special guy.

Bob gets some gunplay pointers from Shane at the end, and gets a tiny glimpse of Shane's past in the process.  We still don't know much, but we do know he is uncommonly handy with a handgun, which implies quite a bit, considering he refuses to wear or carry a gun now.

Favorite Lines:

"Listen, Bob.  A gun is just a tool.  No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel -- or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything.  Think of it always that way.  A gun is as good -- and as bad -- as the man who carries it.  Remember that."

Possible Discussion Questions:

What do you think Shane's trying to explain to Bob about himself in the quote above?

15 comments:

  1. I loved reading the end of this chapter. I loved how the author described Shane's movements, the gun, and...the feeling I felt after reading it. Do you ever like a book or chapter of a book more just because of the warm or exciting feeling it gave you?

    I think that Shane was trying to explain to Bob about himself, but midway found out or remembered something about himself too, which made him stop.

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    1. Ekaterina, yes, there are books (and movies) that sometimes I love almost entirely for one scene or moment and how it makes me feel :-)

      You're probably right -- he was about to open up and then... couldn't.

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    2. Good input. Maybe he breaks off because he was about to say, "If you want to chop out a stump, get an axe; If you want to kill a man,get a gun." After all, what else is a revolver good for? It's not a hunting gun. Even for killing, it's only good fairly close.

      Kelda

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    3. "A gun is as good -- or as bad-- as the man who carries it.Remember that." When I think of Shane, I
      think of a decent though private man. But is he saying here that he has done things that brand him in his own mind as a bad man? Is there a healing through the Starrett family's acceptance of him?
      Kelda

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    4. That's interesting Kelda. Now I'm beginning to wonder if Shane really does think of himself as a bad man, or he thinks his actions have branded him as a bad man. I think Shane could be healing because the Starrett family's acceptance of him. Shane could be healing because he's living like a normal man, and I think he likes that because (from the few hints we have gotten about his past and Shane's actions) his life has not been very normal.

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    5. When he is falling asleep alone on the cot in the barn, what does he think about? Is it about the Starretts and his life getting better? Or is it his seemingly haunted past? Does a man like Shane have nightmares?

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    6. Kelda, I could write an entire fanfic story based on just "What does Shane think about when he's alone?" I would expect he does have nightmares, but keeps them to himself. I'm not qualified to really diagnose this, but might he even have PTSD, and that's why he drifts?

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    7. Just dropping in here to say that I know a guy (he used to be a member of our church) who was in the Canadian Special Forces, and he had PTSD. One of the biggest ways it manifested itself is that he couldn't stay put in any one place for too long - he travels the length and breadth of Canada/the States a LOT, never sticking in one place for too long. So the idea that Shane suffers from PTSD could be correct.

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    8. I have a friend who has PTSD from the war in Afghanistan, even though she was a non-combatant over there. She travels a LOT. She does come back home consistently, but she's rarely there for more than a couple months.

      I'm kind of thinking that the prevalent western trope of the drifter is probably rooted in fact: there had to be a lot of Civil War veterans with PTSD who just couldn't put down roots.

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    9. Interesting thoughts. I know very little about PTSD except that of course it was something before we gave it an actual name. There's no reason why Shane might not suffer from it, since we know so little about him. Anyone can, of course, be a drifter for a multitude of reasons, but PTSD is a possibility.

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    10. That's a really interesting Eva. I didn't know people with PTSD traveled a lot. I definitely wouldn't be surprised if Shane has PTSD.

      Hmmm...I didn't think about the Civil War veterans having PTSD. Ulysses S. Grant did fight the war on the western front before going to fight the war in the east. Do you think Shane was a Civil war veteran but fought in the west?

      I'm taking AP Psychology this semester for school, so I know we're going to have to go over PTSD and when we do, I'll be thinking of Shane. :-)

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    11. Carissa -- good point. Shane could be drifting just because a gunfighter isn't wusually welcome to stay put anywhere for long. Or because he's trying to distance himself physically from something he's done in the past. Isn't it fun to speculate?

      Ekaterina, if anything in your Psych class makes you go, "Oh! That sounds like Shane!" please come back and share :-) I never took Psychology, but I wish I had because I think it would be really useful as a writer and reader.

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  2. Just want to say that I REALLY like that quote about guns. Very true.

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    1. Eva and Carissa, I find it interesting that this idea was already something being discussed in the 1940s, right after WWII (this was originally published in 1946 in a magazine, then as a book in 1949).

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What do you think?

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