Free Study Guide for Shane by Jack Schaefer|
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SHANE SUMMARY NOTES ANALYSIS
The predominant mood of the novel is somber as Shane broods in silence
over his past wrongs as a gunman. When he develops a friendship with the
Starretts, there are some lighter moments. Although he is a man of few
words, Shane sometimes banters with Marian, breaking the sober mood. When
the conflict with Fletcher flares up, the mood intensifies. As he frets
over the problem with Fletcher and how to handle it, he is filled with
torture and agony. Marian notices the change in her friend and worries
deeply for him. The dark mood continues until the end of the book, when
Shane feels he must leave the town without even saying a word of good-bye
to the Starretts.
Jack Warner Schaefer was born on November 19, 1907, in Cleveland Ohio, to Carl Walter and Minnie Luella Schaefer. He attended public schools, where he was a good student. After high school graduation, Schaefer attended Oberlin College, from where he graduated in 1929. For the next year, he did graduate studies at Columbia University. He married Eugenia Hammond Ives in August of 1931. They had three sons and one daughter before they divorced in December of 1948.
Schaefer’s career was devoted to working for various newspapers. His first position was as a reporter for United Press, where he worked from 1930 - 1931. He next worked as an editor for the New Haven Journal-Courier from 1931 - 1942; simultaneously, he served as the assistant director of education for the Connecticut State Reformatory. From 1942 until 1949, he served in editorial positions at the Baltimore Sun, the Norfolk Virginian, and the Shoreliner. He left newspaper work in 1949 to pursue a full-time career in fiction writing. In 1949, he also married Louise Wilhide Deans.
Schaefer’s first and most successful novel, Shane, was published in 1949; four years later it was made into a successful movie. First Blood, his second novel, and a book of short stories entitled The Big Range were published in 1953. The next year Schaefer published The Canyon and another book of stories entitled The Pioneers. In 1955, he published Out West: An Anthology of Stories, followed by Company of Cowards in 1957. In the 1960’s, Schaefer published Old Ramon, The Plainsmen, Monte Walsh, The Great Endurance Horse Race, Stubby Pringle’s Christmas, Heroes without Glory, Collected Stories, Adolphe Francis Alphonse Bandelier, Short Novels, Mavericks, and Hal West: Western Gallery. His work from the 1970’s included An American Bestiary and Conversations with a Pocket Gopher and Other Outspoken Neighbors.
He died on January 24, 1991 in Santa Fe, New Mexico of heart failure.
Although written in 1949, Shane is set in the very early twentieth century and belongs to the genre of literature known as the Western novel. Set in Wyoming, on the far reaches of the frontier, it portrays a small, rough Western town and a group of hard-working farmers who have homesteaded their land. They are portrayed in the typical western fashion, riding horses, toting guns, and possessing fierce pride. They do not trust outsiders, and when Shane arrives in town, all the townsfolk but the Starretts are suspicious of him. In fact, he must beat up a man to prove his worth to them. In the end, he wins their admiration by starting a gunfight and killing two men, who are the nemesis of the farmers. In typical Western fashion, the novel is filled with adventure.
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TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on Shane".
. 15 May 2008