Monday, February 1, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 8

This chapter is like that too-still, calm feeling the world gets before a really bad storm hits.  The storm clouds have been gathering a while, and you've maybe had a bit of rain and some wind already, but suddenly the leaves on the trees don't even flicker, and you know something awful is coming -- you just stand there, watching the sky to see if it's changing color, if you need to head for shelter.  Somehow, you begin to wish it would go ahead and just storm already.  (Okay, that's what you do if you live where tornadoes exist, anyway.)

And besides wanting things to go ahead and just happen, I'm feeling pretty sad for Shane.  He was feeling comfortable and maybe even happy, and now that's all ruined.  Grrrrrrr.  Makes me want to go punch a few bad guys myself.  

I love that Marian has the courage to ask him to stay, though, don't you?  She knows they need him, and she knows that she's manipulating him a bit by asking with Joe not around... but she knows he knows he's being manipulated, so it's all kind of okay somehow.  At least, that's how I feel.  You?

Favorite Lines:

"A man can keep his self-respect without having to cram it down another man's throat" (p. 64).

Possible Discussion Questions:  What do you think about Shane calling Marian Starrett by her first name?  What does it say about how he fits into their lives?


  1. I love this book and the movie.And the oddest tie-in came to me, really distracting me. Casablanca, the love triangle,the saloon, the woman caught between two men with very different personalities,an external menace.~smile~ can't think any horses though.
    It was the first noir film I saw & I was hooked. But strange as it might seem,think about it, and see the film for the first time - or again. :^)
    Using Marian's first name is moving into a closer, more intimate relationship with her. The sense of danger (like the tornado), the knowledge that it can only go badly - I think he dwells on it. Marian accepts the coming storm. although she realizes either outcome will devastate her.


    1. Kelda, oooooooooh, I hadn't thought of Casablanca, but it does have a little bit of the same problems going on. I don't think Marian and Shane ever quite allow themselves to consider a romantic relationship, but clearly the attraction, the possibility is there. They kind of dance around it, so to speak -- "Oh, here's this very different man from my husband, and he's very interesting and kind and exciting. What do I do about that? What do I feel?" And for Shane, this stable and respectable woman who does not despise or fear him... but she's not only married, she's married to a man who respects and trusts him -- wow, that's a whole lot of juicy emotions to deal with.

      Casablanca was my first film noir too!!!!

  2. I'm glad to see that I wasn't necessarily imagining things between Marian and Shane. It can never go anywhere, but there's an obvious something between them that always made me uncomfortable when I saw Shane all those years ago. Probably because I like Joe so very much. Shane really does envy what Joe has. Not enough to take it away from him, but enough to bask in it for a bit, share in it if you will, before heading on down the trail again. And Joe lets him because he trusts him, and he should. Shane is such an enigma. I . . . like him, but at the same time, I don't understand him. It doesn't mean I don't feel bad for him, because I do, but I also don't want him creating rifts either. It's so complicated!

    1. Carissa, no, you're not imagining it. It's never overt, but always there below the surface, this sort of tension of possibility. Never acted on, because all of them respect themselves and each other too much, and because all three have a great sense of moral rightness. So it never quite becomes a betrayal on any side, but yes, it gets a little uncomfortable. Which I think is part of why having a child narrator is so brilliant -- you can hint at this with just dialog and subtext, never having the narrator acknowledge it or comment on it, but trusting the readers to be smart enough to go, "Oh holy handbells, this could slide sideways so quickly and easily." Like you said, so complicated!

  3. Goodness, I re-read this chapter because some of it had slipped from my mind, and I teared up just a little bit because- Well, it's just SAD. And tragic, too. With Shane so quiet and depressed and the hints of his feelings for's a powerful bit of story.

    (I never thought a story this short could be this deep, but it is.)

    I love all these characters and I don't want to see them sad - I guess that's the main point of this comment.


    1. Eva, I feel exactly the same way. I love all these characters and I don't want to see them sad. And there's no help for it -- someone is going to be sad in this story. ::Sobs::


What do you think?

Comments on old posts are always welcome!

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)