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Shane : Summary: Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

A period of peace ensues. Fletcher’s men stop hassling the homesteaders. However, danger is still in the air, and Joe takes to wearing his gun at all times.

One day the family is in the general store. Joe and Marian get called away to discuss Bob’s progress (or lack of it) at school, with Jane Grafton, the schoolteacher.  Shane steps into the saloon, while Bob stands at the door watching. He sees a group of Fletcher’s men about to enter the saloon and he rushes to warn Shane. Four men enter, including Fletcher’s foreman Morgan, a big, intimidating man, and Curly, who is powerful but stupid. Red Marlin, another Fletcher hand, is already in the saloon. Sam Grafton, knowing that a fight is inevitable, insists that there will be no use of guns and that the men will pay for any damage caused. Morgan tells Shane they are going to rough him up and force him out of the valley. All the men attack Shane, but he is at first too quick and skilful for them. Then Marlin and Curly grab him from front and behind and hold him as Morgan approaches. Morgan hits Shane in the face. Then Bob sees his father entering the saloon. Joe joins the fight, sending Morgan reeling across the room and throwing Curly against a wall. Curly is injured and out of the fight. Red Marlin, attacked by Shane, runs away. Shane then goes for Morgan, watched by Joe—Shane insists he stays out of it—Bob, and also Marian, who has just arrived. Morgan advances but in the fight that follows, Shane soon knocks him unconscious.

 

Analysis

After the quieter chapter 8, this chapter has a great deal more action in it. The violence is brutal, and Shane’s victory never in doubt. One noticeable detail is Bob’s relationship with Shane, which has been quietly developing all along. When Bob rushes into the saloon, warning Shane there are men outside and implying that he should flee, Shane says, “Bobby boy, would you have me run away?” To which Bob responds, “Love for that man raced through me and the warmth ran down and stiffened my legs and I was so proud of being there with him that I could not keep the tears from my eyes.” The novel is not exactly a coming-of-age novel, since Bob is only eleven and the novel covers a period of only a few months, but he learns a huge amount from Shane about what it means to be a man. These lessons stay with him as an adult, as he will later remark upon. 




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