Shiloh And Log Cabin

Many assumptions can be made about what the log cabin symbolizes or what its
significance is in the story. However, one correlation stands out stronger than
any other in my mind. The log cabin is a symbol of the state of Leroy’s and

Norma Jean’s relationship. Leroy, throughout it all, as he struggles to
convince Norma Jean that she would really like a log cabin because that is what
he strives to give her, is also fighting to save their marriage; just as he
desires to have her understand and want their relationship. If the word log
cabin is replaced with either relationship or marriage the translation should
not change any of the meaning in the story and in the majority of cases makes
perfect sense. The first time that there is mention of the log cabin, the author
states, "...he is thinking about building a full scale log house from a kit.
...Leroy has grown to appreciate how things are put together," (731). Leroy is
longing for a complete relationship with Norma Jean, one in which he feels
needed and wanted by her, as he does not feel now. He desires to build this on
the foundation that they have built over the last sixteen years. Leroy has
always had a lot of time to think about their marriage, but not a lot of time to
put anything into it. He is finally available to work full time on their
marriage since he will not be gone as often. Leroy shows that he notices
everything that is lacking by his thoughts that are disclosed on page 731, "He
has this feeling that they are waking up out of a dream together-they must
create a new marriage, start afresh," (731). This statement supports the
second phrase of the quote in previous paragraph. He realizes that their
experiences over the last years have shaped their relationship into what it is
now, and he is now attempting to focus on the future, to build their
relationship. "‘I’m aiming to build us a log house,’ says Leroy. ‘Soon
as my plans come.’ ‘Like heck you are,’ says Norma Jean" (734). Leroy is
still attempting to mend their relationship. However, he does not know what

Norma Jean wants. He has a desire to build this wondrous relationship between
the two of them. However he is procrastinating, almost as if he is waiting for
the answer to fall into his lap. He does not know what will, or does make her
happy. Though in his own ways he continues to make attempts to let her know that
he cares for her and wants to build something with her. The response that Norma

Jean gives him reflects the changes that she is undergoing in her life right
now. She is beginning to show her frustration with his laziness and
non-progression in life or in their marriage. She is focusing on herself and not
on the relationship at this point. She wishes and longs for Leroy to make
advances in his life. However, the way that his life stands right now, and the
direction in which it seems to be heading are not prompting her to have a strong
desire to continue the relationship with him. It seems that by this point, she
has already made the decision to leave Leroy; however, she is holding off until
better timing presents itself. " ‘I’m going to build you this house’
says Leroy. ‘I want to make you a real home.’ ‘I don’t want to live in
any log cabin,’ states Norma Jean" (734). At this point, Leroy still
believes that there is a possibility that he can make their marriage work. On
page 736, Leroy states that he notices that there are many things that are
needed in their relationship, such as communication. He talks about how, for a
fleeting moment, he feels the need to tell Norma Jean everything about himself.

But there is a disruption and he forgets what or why he needed to tell her. At
this point Norma Jean expresses her lack of fulfillment in their relationship.

She attempts to tell him that she does not want from him what he desires from
her. She is not interested in the things that he wants to give her and does not
even share the same interests. "‘I want to make her this beautiful home,’

Leroy says, indicating the Lincoln Logs. ‘I don’t think she even wants it.

Maybe she was happier with me gone.’" (737). At this point he is