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1. Although the details of Shane's past life are not detailed by the author, it is obvious that he has been a gunslinger. How is this shown in the novel?
2. Fully explain why Shane has come to the valley and how he tries to change his life.
3. Explain how Bob, Joe, and Marian each react to Shane upon first meeting him. What do their very different reactions reveal about his as people?
4. Compare and contrast the physical and emotional side of Joe and Shane.
5. During the course of the novel, how does Joe feel about Shane and how is this revealed?
6. During the course of the novel, how does Bob feel about Shane and how is this revealed?
7. During the course of the novel, how does Marian feel about Shane and how is this revealed?
8. During the course of the novel, how do the other farmers in the valley feel about Shane and how is this revealed?
9. During the course of the novel, how does Shane feel about each of the Starretts and how is this revealed?
10. What is the agony that Shane suffers during the course of the novel? What does he decide to do in the end and why?
11. Explain what happens in the final saloon scene?
12. What is your reaction to having a young boy serve as the narrator of the story? Explain your response.
13. Why does Shane feel he has to leave town? Why does he not say good-bye to Marian and Joe?
14. Does the story end in comedy or tragedy? Support your answer with a full explanation.
15. What is the major theme of the novel and how is it developed?
COMMENT ON THE STUDY OF LITERATURE
The study of literature is not like the study of math or science, or even history. While those disciplines are based largely upon fact, the study of literature is based upon interpretation and analysis. There are no clear-cut answers in literature, outside of the factual information about an author's life and the basic information about setting and characterization in a piece of literature. The rest is a highly subjective reading of what an author has written; each person brings a different set of values and a different background to the reading. As a result, no two people see the piece of literature in exactly the same light, and few critics agree on everything about a book or an author.
In this study guide, we have tried to give an objective literary analysis based upon the information actually found in the novel, book, or play. In the end, however, it is an individual interpretation, but one that we feel can be readily supported by the information that is presented in the guide. In your course of literature study, you or your professor/teacher may come up with a different interpretation of the mood or the theme or the conflict. Your interpretation, if it can be logically supported with information contained within the piece of literature, is just as correct as ours. So is the interpretation of your teacher or professor.
Literature is simply not a black or white situation; instead, there are many gray areas that are open to varying analyses. Your task is to come up with your own analysis that you can logically defend. Hopefully, these booknotes will help you to accomplish that goal.