Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 14

And Bob follows Shane to town.  He has to, from a storytelling standpoint, since Bob's our narrator, and it would be absolutely terrible not to see the culmination of this story.  But I love what it says about Bob too, about his devotion to Shane.  He can't stand for Shane to go up against them truly alone.  Even though he can't help, and he could end up a hindrance, he has to be there with him.  And so we, through Bob, get to see Shane's magnificent, doomed stand against the forces of evil in this valley.

It's a good fight, don't you think?  He faces Wilson down square and even gives him a chance to live, though Wilson doesn't take it.  And he gets that sidewinding Fletcher too.

Unfortunately, he doesn't escape unscathed himself.  Sob.

Favorite Lines:

I went softly down the steps and into the freedom of the night (p. 104).

He was tall and terrible there in the road, looming up gigantic in the mystic half-light.  He was the man I saw that first day, a stranger, dark and forbidding, forging his lone way out of an unknown past in the utter loneliness of his own immovable and instinctive defiance.  He was the symbol of all the dim, formless imaginings of danger and terror in the untested realm of human potentialities beyond my understanding.  The impact of the menace that marked him was like a physical blow (p. 105).

There was the Shane of the adventures I had dreamed for him, cool and competent, facing that room full of men in the simple solitude of his own invincible completeness (p. 108).

He gazed down at me and into me and he knew.  He knew what goes on in a boy's mind and what can help him stay clean inside through the muddled, dirtied years of growing up (p. 112).

A cloud passed over the moon and he merged into the general shadow and I could not see him and the cloud passed on and the road was a plain thin ribbbon to the horizon and he was gone (p. 114).

Possible Discussion Questions:

Shane says, "A man is what he is, Bob, and there's no breaking the mold" (p. 113).  Do you agree?  Can people change?

He also says, "There's no going back from a killing, Bob.  Right or wrong, the brand sticks and there's no going back" (p. 113).  We've seen that even though Shane arrived in a community where he was a complete stranger, people knew what sort of man he is, that he has killed and could kill again.  Do you think Shane wanted people to know this about him, or could he have hidden it?  I'm not phrasing this quite right -- do you think that he could have hidden it and didn't want to, or was it going to be obvious no matter how he dressed and behaved?


  1. Basically, I ship everyone in this book with happiness. (Besides Fletcher and Wilson.)


    I don't have any deep thoughts to share right now... I'm feeling too emotional.

  2. I am firmly convinced that people can and do change, which is part of what makes Shane a little sad for me. He was trying so hard to create a new life, try something different, and it just didn't work. So what? He'll go back to the way he was before? I don't fully believe that either, but I just see him roaming the rest of his days, never settling anywhere, never having a family. *sniffle* It makes me so sad.

    If I'd had my druthers, I'd have kept Shane on as the sheriff or something. Because yes, it's true that people will always remember if you've killed somebody. But in this fight, Shane was in the right. I think he'd have made a terrific sheriff although then you have the problem of people tracking him down and challenging him simply because he IS Shane.

    1. Carissa, yes, that's part of what makes me super sad about this book -- that he was changing, and had to change back.

      Do you think Shane survived? I assume he rode off to die alone somewhere. In the book, I mean. In the movie, I think he survives -- his wound isn't as serious.

      But anyway, I LOVE your idea of him staying on as sheriff. I think he could have done that well. But yes, there's the problem of people coming to try their luck against him. One of my favorite Glenn Ford westerns, The Fastest Gun Alive, deals with that problem in depth. (Totally recommend that movie, btw.)

    2. Oh, I don't think he died, at least I hope he didn't. That would be entirely too sad. Then again, they never hear of anyone named Shane again who would be a match to our Shane. So it's always possible.

    3. Carissa, I schwaffle back and forth between thinking he died and thinking maybe he rode off and found help and got healed. Perhaps "Shane" was only what he chose to be called in that town, and he went back to a different name later on.

      (My own headcanon for the movie version is that he's the same character as in "Whispering Smith," about ten years later.)

  3. Ok I have to read SHANE. I have it, loved the cover,a very little book and it's an old charming copy. Without having read it yet, I would like to give my opinion about people changing as it is an age old question... I think...that the general mold we are born with is not the one that needs changing usually. But the mold one is forced into, like a tree tied to stakes and forced to grow in a form it never would have that can be changed if it is not what a person wants to be, however quite hard to do but possible. So as we are born I don't think that can be changed, only deformed, or finessed into something even better, and it is possible to get back to the original form if need be with great, great effort or a miracle. Thank you for your site!

    1. Jacqueline, yes, I totally recommend this book, if you can't tell :-) It's definitely a fast read too!

      That's an interesting perspective! I think in some ways, I agree with you.

      Glad you're enjoying my blog :-)

  4. (Also, I really dig the cover that you chose for this post.)

  5. Shane has some spending money - he used it to buy his farmer clothes. He could have done that before reaching the Starrett farm if he was being cautious about his appearance. But he did have the gun concealed in his bedroll.It wouldn't be any use to him if someone recognized him & gunned him down on a dusty main street. Thinking back - wasn't there a reference to his 'real' clothing being neatly patched? Was there a loving woman cleaning him up,or-since he took notice of bonnets and such - he would hire a seamtress? Most unlikely, I can imagine him in an saloon (facing the door) patiently mending his shirt with a bottle of red soda at hand.

    1. Kelda, Shane feels very self-sufficient to me, so I think he probably patched his own clothes. Makes me think of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings, when he's Strider the Ranger -- there are comments about his clothing being neatly patched as well.

  6. Oh Shane! (sobs) Why do you have to leave? Why do you have to be the way you are?

    This chapter just put me in tears. The fighting was exciting, but then afterwards when Shane left Bob, I cried.

    Yes, I think a person can change depending how they grew up, and their personality. Well, I think God is the only one who can really change a person. In Shane's case, he can't change. He has tired to change, but it is not him. He is so beautiful and so dangerous, and perfectly fits the role of a character in an American legend.

    Shane could not have hidden who he was. He couldn't break the mold that he was and what everyone saw him as.

    I feel like calling out to Shane like in the movie. "Shane! Shane! Come back!"

    (Sorry, for all of this ranting. I also just finished watching Spartacus for the first time, and I'm in an emotional and crying mood.)

    1. Ekaterina, some people are too wonderful for their own good. That's all. I cried over this book too, and the movie.

      I feel like people can try to change, and change over a long time in some ways, but God is the only one who can change them inside and permanently.

      (Spartacus will do that to a person.)


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