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Free Study Guide for Shane by Jack Schaefer

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FREE BOOK NOTES FOR SHANE BY JACK SCHAEFER

CHAPTER 4

Summary

The next morning, Bob wakes up and thinks about their guest. Though Shane had at first seemed stern and forbidding, he now seems to be a comfortable and pleasant part of their family. He even believes his own parents are more vibrant with Shane around.

When Bob dashes to the breakfast table, he is glad to find that the adults are still eating. He enjoys listening to their light bantering. When they are through eating, Shane rises to take his leave from the farm, but Joe again stops him. When he asks Shane whether he is running away from something, the guest replies in the negative. Joe then explains that he needs a new worker, for his employee has been misled by Fletcher’s men. He offers Shane the job, which he accepts. When Shane leaves the room, Marian questions her husbands’ judgement, but Joe says he feels certain he has made a wise decision.

Shane proves to be a hard worker. He easily learns all the things that Joe teaches him and does his work well. There is still, however, something about him that makes him seem different. Young Bob is almost frightened by the intensity that Shane shows as he works. He attacks his farm duties with fierce energy, dedication, and concentration.


Bob thinks about the fact that Shane has taken his father’s place at the table. Though Marian had looked annoyed the first time the stranger sat in Joe’s chair, his father had quietly taken a new place, not saying a word. When a neighbor enters the room during a meal, Bob realizes why Shane has chosen his seat and not moved from it. From his position at the table, he can see every person that enters.

Bob also thinks about the impressive gun that belongs to Shane. He wonders why he does not carry it with him, like all the other farmers that he knows. When Bob questions his father about it, Joe says that Shane probably has a very good reason for not carrying the gun, but he advises the boy not to ask Shane about it. He also advises his son not to grow too fond of Shane, for he may move away at any time.


Notes

Shane has now become a part of the Starrett household; but something still sets him apart from them. Although he works hard like the other farmers, there is an intensity and dignity about him. Even though he does not fully understand Shane, Bob is overjoyed at his continued presence in the house. He is also fascinated that his idol has a fancy gun but never carries it. His father tells his son not to ask Shane about the gun. He also warns the boy not to become too close to Shane, for “he’ll be moving on one of these days and then you’ll be all upset if you get to liking him too much.”

The villagers take longer to accept Shane as one of them because of his quiet ways. One of the men fears that underneath the silence is a powder keg. He states that he is “like one of these here slow burning fuses. Quiet and no sputtering. So quiet you forget its burning. Then it sets off one heck of a blow-off of trouble when it touches powder. That’s him.” Shane adds even greater mystery to his being by his obvious habit of always sitting or standing facing the door, ever alert to who enters. The reader is still left wondering about Shane’s past.

 

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