Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Connections Between Shane And Tunbridge

Frances Amodeo
EN 101-21
Dr. Ellis

         When I showed up for my fourth week of service in all purple, such a traitor for rooting against my NY Giants I know, but I was embraced by the kids in such a way that it felt as though I hadn’t seen them in months.  When we all arrived at the gymnasium, it was time for my little second graders to do fitness.  I couldn’t believe how many of them were so anxious to do the pull up bar and show off their super strength.  First up was Jaden, and he was going at it like a pro. Still to go were Tobi, D’Asia, Ali and Sophia.  Each one of them was better than the next.  For seven year olds, I was so impressed and to be honest quite embarrassed that they could lift their own weight better than me.  I did get a big laugh out of them when “Miss Frances” could only do two pull-ups and most of them had done three, four or five.  Safe to say the FAC has become my new best friend.
         The kids in my special education class are absolutely precious and I look forward to seeing them all week.  When it was time for them to come to gym class I decided that we’d play their favorite game, flag football!  Their smiles were so radiant they just warmed my heart. It wasn’t long before we made teams, boys vs. girls.  Us girls were clearly outnumbered but we stepped up our game and took twice as many of the boys’ flags than they took of ours.  We had such a blast; I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week!
         When I first started reading Shane, it was funny how quickly I related myself to him as a result of the service I do at Tunbridge.  The similarity wasn’t so much that I was riding around on a horse trying to move on from my gun slinging past, it was the fact that I was a complete stranger in unfamiliar territory and I was so kindly taken in and now feel like part of the Tunbridge family.  It was within a matter of minutes on the first day that I was receiving hugs and warm welcomes.  Another similarity of my experience is that the children I work with are just as wonderful and innocent as Bob Starrett.  And one of the nicest compliments I may have ever received was by one of the teachers saying that the students really look up to me, like Bob looks up to Shane. 
         Throughout the novel we encounter a number of significant themes and experiences.  One of the major themes throughout the novel is leaving behind one’s past and the incredible strength it takes to move positively toward the future.  Shane, a mysterious man who abandons his gun slinging past to start anew comes across the Starrett family while journeying through the Wyoming countryside on horseback.  He is taken in by them and soon becomes part of the family.  Although taken in with open arms, Joe and Marian seemed to question his past while their young son Bob thinks Shane is the greatest man in the world and looks up to him tremendously.  Bob’s great love and admiration for Shane brings up another great theme of the novel, the innocence of childhood.  Jack Schaefer purposely makes young Bob Starrett the narrator of the novel in order to read the story through the perspective of a child.  Schaefer exposes the idealisms of youth by portraying Shane as being “perfect” in Bob’s eyes.   We also see great symbolism in things such as the tree stump.  The tree stump was an annoyance that Joe Starrett had being dealing with for years.  It symbolized old struggles and when Shane came he helped Joe uproot it, which then showed their progression towards overcoming difficult obstacles in life.  Another significant symbol was Shane’s lack of carrying a gun.  In a way it symbolizes a stripping of his past life and moving on towards anew.  In the final chapters of the first half of the novel we encounter the fight between Shane and Chris, one of Fletcher’s men.  After the fight and the damage of breaking Chris’ arm and wounding Fletcher, Shane tells Bob that he must move on “because when a man kills someone, he is marked forever and must go.” 

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