Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
SHANE BY JACK SCHAEFER - FREE BOOKNOTES
Bob awakens in the morning to find his father and Shane eating pancakes that his mother has prepared. Marian is delighted that the stranger eagerly devours the pancakes, seeming to like her cooking. Shane's reference to the pancakes as "funnel cakes" indicates that he comes from Tennessee. When he is questioned about it, he admits that Tennessee was his home.
The Wyoming weather has turned bad. As a result, Joe and Marian ask Shane to stay with them for a while. When Shane doe not immediately accept the offer, Joe says he is planning to take a day's rest from work until the weather clears and would enjoy his company. Marian adds that she is going to make an apple pie from a new recipe she has been wanting to try. Shane finally agrees to stay.
As they wait for the weather to improve, Marian tries to get Shane to tell her what he knows about the latest fashions in the civilized world, especially what hats are in style. Shane tells her about floppy-brimmed bonnets with flowers on top and slits in the brim for scarves to come through. Marian is delighted to hear news of the outside world.
Joe is equally pleased with Shane's presence. It is enjoyable to converse with another adult male. Joe tells Shane all about the farm, and when the weather clears, he eagerly shows his land to the stranger. As they pass the stump of a large tree that has died, Joe complains about the difficulty he is having in removing it.
Joe spies Ledyard, the peddler, riding towards them. He had earlier asked the peddler to find him a cultivator. When Ledyard arrives, he shows Joe a cultivator, which he praises as unique and utilitarian. He says it costs only one hundred and ten dollars. Shane intervenes, saying that he has seen a similar one for just sixty dollars. Ledyard is obviously offended by Shane's comment and discounts him as a no-good stranger. Joe defends his guest, saying that he has more faith in Shane than Ledyard. In the end, Joe offers Ledyard eighty dollars for the cultivator. The peddler accepts the offer, takes Joe's money, and rides away.
After Ledyard departs, Shane takes an axe and goes out to the old tree stump and begins to work on it. Joe tries to dissuade him, but Shane answers, "A man has to pay his debts." Joe understands Shane's thoughts and words; therefore, he joins him and starts hacking away at the dead tree. Though they work in silence, both men feel camaraderie as they attack the old stump.
Shane is immediately accepted by the family. Bob is delighted to have this mysterious stranger in his midst, for life on the farm can seem very monotonous to a young boy. Joe is also pleased to have his company. Since the weather has turned bad, he insists that Shane stay with them for a while longer. He even says he will take the day off to spend with Shane, an offer that shocks his wife, for she has never seen her husband rest from his work.
Marian also shows her pleasure in having Shane at the farm. She revels in hearing about the latest female fashions in the civilized world. She also reveals a girlish delight when Shane compliments her cooking and voraciously gobbles her pancakes. She tempts him into staying longer by promising to bake for him an apple pie from a special new recipe. After hesitating at first, Shane soon accepts the generous offer of the Starretts to stay for a few more days on the farm.
Ledyard, the peddler, is portrayed in the traditional Western manner. A smooth-talking salesman, he is out to make a quick buck. Unbothered by cheating his customers, he raises his prices far too high, because he knows that there are few places in Wyoming for the farmers to go and buy their needed equipment and wares. Shane, however, comes to the rescue. He tells Ledyard that he has seen a similar cultivator, selling for $60 rather than $110. In the end, Joe pays eighty for the needed piece of equipment.
Little new Background Information is learned from Shane in the chapter, for he is a man of few words. When the Starretts suspect him of being from Tennessee, Shane agrees that he is; but the reader is not convinced, for his answer was much too easy. Shane, however, reveals a great deal about himself through his actions. Throughout the chapter he endears himself to Joe, even though he is a mere stranger. He listens carefully and with interest as Joe talks about the farm and his problems. He sympathizes with Joe about the old stump and then sets out to dig up the remains of the dead tree. He also causes Joe to pay thirty dollars less for the cultivator than Ledyard tried to charge.
The chapter ends in a picture of camaraderie. To thank Joe for his trust in him, Shane finds an axe and is hacking away at the old tree stump that troubles his host. When Joe insists that it is not necessary for him to work, Shane refuses to quit. As a result, Joe joins in the effort, and the two men hack at the tree stump in happy silence, lost in their own thoughts. It is a picture of acceptance of one another.