Thursday, February 4, 2016

Shane Read-Along: Chapter 9

Shane fights dirty.

And I love him for it.

I'm not sure what that says about me, but it's probably nothing good.  Anyway, I don't know about you, but I read this chapter twice through all in one lump this afternoon.

"'So you have it all planned,' Shane said softly" (p. 71).  Did you ever hear of a neater way of thumbing your nose at someone while sounding perfectly polite?  Oh, that line thrills me.  I'm getting goosebumps again just remembering it.  

And then the fight begins, and what a glorious fight it is!  Shane using his smarts and experience and agility against their brute strength, one man holding his own against five for quite some time.  And yes, he fights dirty.  Knee to the groin here, glass of whiskey to the eyes there, anything he needs to do.  It's that willingness to wade in with no holds barred that makes me love Shane so much in this fight -- he keeps nothing back.

But even wonderful, mythical, heroic Shane can't win against five men who also are willing to brawl however necessary.  And just in time, in comes our other hero.  Joe "was past anger.  He was filled with a fury that was shaking him almost beyond endurance" (p. 73).  And here's why I love that they cast Van Heflin in that role for the movie version.  Because he is a big, barrel-chested man, and he so completely suits this moment of righteous fury where he grabs a man and picks him up over his head and throws him like a straw bale.  

Alan Ladd as Shane is small and lithe and quick, just like in the book, and look at that photo above, how Van Heflin towers over him like the mountains behind them, solid and weathered and formidable.  My husband (Cowboy) is built a lot like Van Heflin -- broad shoulders, barrel chest, brawny arms, 5'11", big head... anyway, he's as gentle and kind as can be, but I have no doubt (having seen him lifting weights in our basement) that if he wanted to, he would be "big and terrible" like Joe Starrett, could pick up a man and throw him like that.  

Okay, enough sappy musing about my husband.  Let's just say that if I was Marian, and Cowboy was Joe, my eyes would have been glowing too.

Favorite Lines:

He picked up his drink and savored it, one elbow on the bar, not shoving himself forward into the room's companionship and not withdrawing either, just ready to be friendly if anyone wanted that and unfriendly if anyone wanted that too (p. 69).

He was somehow happy, not in the pleased and laughing way, but happy that the waiting was over and what had been ahead was here and seen and realized and he was ready for it (p. 70).

"Bobby boy, would you have me run away?" (p. 70).

I don't really have any discussion questions today.  Unless you want to speculate as to why a meek, mild, quiet woman like me is so attracted to violent stories...


  1. When I was a child, Bonanza was my go-to viewing for heroes. I loved the Cartwrights so much and you know what? They never backed down from a fight. They might not always win, but they were never cowards. I actually enjoy fistfights, far more than shoot-outs because someone stands a chance of surviving a fistfight and it's a very masculine way to solve your problems. It's not cultured or nice, but you know how to defend yourself and so you do it. I loved this chapter. It was full of action and drama and all of the best things about men who won't back down from what they know to be the right thing to do.

    1. Carissa, I have a deep and abiding fondness for Bonanza. Though I prefer The Big Valley. The Barkleys are the same -- they don't back down from a fight, and they often wade into one they didn't start if they feel like someone needs help.

      A good brawl is kind of a joy to behold, isn't it? And I agree the solving something with your own physical abilities is a lot more interesting and wholesome than shooting each other.

  2. GAH. I wish I could write fight scenes as well as Jack Schaefer. But I'm quite bad at writing fight scenes of any kind which is probably why they don't crop up in my westerns too much. :P

    In other news, I persuaded Noah to read Shane! He's a super fast reader so he finished it in a couple of hours and he really, really liked it. Yay! He didn't say anything directly to me, but I heard him talking to Ezra a little later on and he was like, "Hey, Ezra, there was this one scene where the main character is fighting a bunch of guys and two of them are holding him so another one can punch him...and then the father of the main character comes in and just THROWS the biggest guy in the group across the room. That's awesome."


    So now he and I are both trying to get Ezra to read it (he prefers drawing to reading so I don't know if we'll succeed) and Mom is definitely going to read it (because she likes westerns) and I'm going to order Elisabeth to read it. :) Annnnd I probably going to write a review sometime soon.

    Shane is quickly turning into one of those 'huggable' books - the ones I love so much that I hug. (Sounds weird?)

    1. Eva, ME TOO!!! I have this horrible tendency to either get super bogged down in unnecessary details, or gloss over everything too quickly. This is pure elegance on the page, isn't it? Good for us to study!

      How exciting that Noah liked Shane! Good luck "ordering" Elisabeth to read it, hee. Glad you're having fun passing it around the whole family!

      I hug books too. Some books demand it.

  3. I was just reading through my comment and I realized that what I said Noah said is Rather Confusing. I (or he) referred to both Bob AND Shane as the main character. :P But you know what he was getting at, I'm sure. :)

  4. Sorry for the abundance of random comments, but my last one made think of a question I thought I'd ask: do you think Bob or Shane is the MC of the novel?

    1. Well, the narrator can be different from the main character of a novel. Sometimes they're the same, like in To Kill a Mockingbird. Sometimes they're not, like in this. I would say that Bob is the narrator, but Shane is the protagonist.

    2. Some people do say that Atticus is the protagonist of TKAM, but I've always thought it was Scout.

      (The Sherlock Holmes stories, though, are another example of a narrator who isn't the main character. And so is Code Name Verity in some ways, though the POV/narration is all over the place in that book.)

    3. Yeeeeeeeeah, I suppose you could call Atticus the protag, but he's not quite the one getting changed the most, I don't think. It's Scout who grows up, who learns the most.


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