Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 15

Poor Joe.  Having to live the rest of his life with the knowledge that his friend has (probably) died in his place.  That's going to be tough.

Shane's kind of a Christ-like figure, in some ways, isn't he?  He's flawless.  He comes from nowhere and goes off into the unknown again.  He lays down his life for his friends, of his own accord.  I'm not often a big fan of Christ-like figures in literature, as they're often too clumsy, too didactic, too obvious.  But not here.  How about you?

And the whole struggle with the stump comes back again.  Joe and Shane may have uprooted it at the beginning of the story, but now, thanks to the time Shane spent with them on that homestead, the whole family has grown roots that go deep down into the ground.  Marian says, "We have roots here now that we can never tear loose (p. 117).

We talked a lot, earlier, about just what that stump symbolized.  I think, in the end, it shows that when you remove one thing, something else has to take its place.  They uprooted the stump, and replaced it with themselves, in a way.  It's gone, but they're here to stay.  What do you think?

We've only got one chapter left.  I'll probably post it tomorrow.  And start the giveaway.

(One More) Possible Discussion Question:

Why do you suppose Shane rode off alone to die?  Or do you think he'll survive that wound?


  1. Going off alone to die...that's what wild things do.

    1. Jacqueline, that's what I was thinking too. Wild things go off and hide when they know they're dying.

  2. Also to follow up on your comparing him to a Christ-like figure...after his death he disappears...

    1. Jacqueline, that's true too -- he speaks to his "follower" before he leaves, then off he goes.

  3. *sigh*

    I never thought of Shane being a Christ-figure before, but you're right, and it works without being annoying or blatant (thank goodness).

    There was one review of the book on Goodreads that said Shane didn't die because he's more a symbol than an actual person and symbols can't die. But...I don't know. (I definitely don't see him as just a symbol, though.) I'll have to think about the discussion question some more because I don't *want* him to die (obviously) but the wound was bad. I think I'll have to re-read the chapter.

    1. Eva, oh for Pete's sake, Shane is not Just A Symbol. He might be a symbol of many things, but he's also a flesh-and-blood character, so therefore he can die.

      At least we have the movie. I infinitely prefer its ending.

  4. I don't really see Shane as a Christ figure but as a mythical character from a legend, which contains the values that Americans value and often look up to. In a book I read once, Rouben Mamoulian (a European movie director who came to America and helped Hollywood transition to sound), said that westerns are America's legend. He also said a lot more about this subject, but it's too much to me to summarize. After I read what he said, I've begun to look at the westerns I've watched as legends, and I love them even more. Shane is actually the first western I have ever read, which kind of surprises me compared to all of the westerns I've watched.

    I feel so bad for Joe in this chapter too. I'm glad that Chris, though, turns out to be a good guy, and he wants to be good too and set down roots.

    I don't want to think Shane died. He is a legend, immortal, and incomparable. At least that's what I want to think of him, solitary, strong, silent, and sensitive. That's a lot of s's. :-)

    1. The Christ-like savior figure gets used a lot in myths and legends too, someone who sacrifices themselves for another person or persons.

      I agree that westerns are our legends, our myths, and that's part of why I love them.

      I also haven't read nearly as many westerns as I've seen, though I'm working on remedying that.

      Because we're seeing this through the eyes of a child who is relating this to us presumably many years after it occurred, Shane is particularly mythic. Perhaps he didn't die, perhaps he did -- I think that in some ways, it doesn't matter.

  5. I don't think Shane died, the first time I read it I wondered. Now that I've read it numerous times I don't think he did. Nor do I want to believe that he did, but like you said, in some ways it doesn't matter. What mattered was how he changed the lives and character of the folks in the valley, his sacrifice of all of his desires, ect.

    I reviewed the book on my blog a couple of months ago here:

    It is such a great book! Even though I didn't make it to your read along I'm having great fun reading through what you wrote on the chapters! Thanks for doing it!

    1. I like all you cheerful people who think Shane survived. You're convincing me he might have too. I don't want him to die!

      I'm glad you're enjoying reading back over the posts :-) I do that myself sometimes.

      Off to read your book review!


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