Right here in chapter seven is where this story grabs me by the shirtfront and won't let go. Up to here, the tension is building slow and easy, and I'm just kind of ambling along, and then all of a sudden... wow.
I think this chapter is written so splendidly. We know Shane's going to be violent, and we kind of crave that violence, don't we? We can't wait to see just how he's going to take that braggart Chris down. Just like some of the folks in the story, I guess. And then the fight -- did you notice how we're getting it kind of third-hand? Ed Howells comes and tells the Starretts, and now a grown Bob is remembering it and telling us. But it's described so clearly -- simply, quickly, with a kind of bare-bones elegance that matches Shane's actions so perfectly. I'm going to mark this part and come back to it whenever I have to write a fight scene, because this is how they ought to look.
So Shane wiped the floor with Chris, and Joe and the other farmers are pretty exultant about this, but Marian Starrett sees past the temporary victory to what this has cost Shane. Sometimes I think she understands him better than anyone else in the story. I wonder how long it's been since someone has understood him so well.
It was crude. It was coarse. I thought it silly for grown men to act that way (p. 56-57).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Shane tells Chris (albeit while he's unconscious), "There's only one thing really wrong with you. You're young. That's the one thing time can always cure." Why do you suppose "the thought hurt him" (p. 62)?
Shane "did not care what anyone anywhere thought of him," and yet, "he did care what they thought of father" (p. 57). What kind of man cares more for someone else's good name more than his own?