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Free Study Guide for Shane by Jack Schaefer

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As time passes, it is hard for Bob to remember when Shane was not with his family, for he has become a total part of their existence. There is still, however, a strange alertness and a touch of bitterness about him. When Joe has to be away from home for a couple of days, Shane takes the opportunity to build a new section on to the Starrett house. Marian had mentioned that it was soon to be her wedding anniversary, and Shane makes the addition as an anniversary gift.

Bob remembers the summer when Shane is on the farm as the happiest summer of his life. He enjoys spending time with his hero and tries to emulate Shane in every way. Once when Bob is playing with his old gun, Shane shows him how to hold it properly. Bob takes the opportunity to question Shame about guns, but Shane says little. Instead a look of bitter reverie comes over his face; but he warns the boy that a gun is a mere tool, which is as good or as bad as the man that carries it.


Bob idolizes Shane and spends as much time with him as possible. Joe has also learned to trust Shane implicitly and even leaves the house and his family in his care while he travels out of town to do some work. While Joe is gone, the thoughtful Shane makes good use of his time, building a new section on to the Starrett’s home. The addition is a present for their wedding anniversary.

In spite of the fact that Shame is totally comfortable at the Starrett’s and has been accepted into their family, there is still an aura of mystery about him. He has never spoken of his background and has not even revealed his last name. He also behaves strangely, falling into a bitter reverie, when Bob asks him some innocent questions about guns. Although the details about Shane’s life have not been revealed, it is obvious that there is a sad bitterness deep inside him.



Fletcher, the village nemesis, returns after a long absence. Once again he tries to seize the land of the village homestead farmers, saying he will pay a fair price for it. Everyone, but Shane, is on edge about Fletcher. Shane, however, shows no concern about what is going on. He minds his own business and goes about his job as usual, working hard and bantering with Marian and Bob.

Joe, the unofficial leader of the village farmers, holds a meeting at his house to discuss a plan of action against Fletcher. James Lewis, Ed Howells, Frank Torrey, and Ernie Wright, all solid, dependable, longtime homesteaders, attend the meeting and discuss their options. Joe expresses his concern that Fletcher will try to win Shane to his side. The meeting breaks up without any agreement on a plan of action.

One day Joe remarks that a piece of equipment has to be taken into town to be repaired. Shane offers to do it and insists upon going alone. Bob, however, wants to go along, hoping not to miss anything; as a result, he hops into the wagon. Shane first goes to the blacksmith to give him the tongs to repair. He then enters the saloon to have a drink. As Bob waits outside the saloon, he sees two of Fletcher’s men enter the saloon, but only one of them, whose name is Chris, remains inside. Curious about what is going on, Bob peers into the saloon and listens intently to the conversation between Chris and Shane. Chris makes some derogatory remarks to Shane, who tells him to cut it out. Chris, however, calls Shane a pig and laughs at him. With difficulty, Shane manages to control himself, walk out of the saloon, and head for home. Chris assumes that Shane is too scared to fight.

Joe waits for his son and Shane to return. When they arrive, they tell him about the events of the day. He is glad that Shane did not lose his temper, but he worries about what may happen next.


Fletcher’s return to the village causes an immediate increase in tension amongst the homestead farmers, whose land he wants to seize. Joe, the leader of the group, holds a meeting of the farmers at his house to discuss a plan of action. Joe also expresses his concern about Fletcher trying to win Shane, the new man in town, to his side.

When Joe needs a piece of equipment repaired at the village blacksmith, Shane volunteers to take it into town. Although not invited, the eager Bob goes with him. When Shane goes into the saloon to have a drink, Bob waits outside. He soon spies two of Fletcher’s men go into the saloon, obviously to talk to Shane. Only one of them, Chris, stays inside for long.

Chris confronts Shane, trying to win him over to Fletcher’s point of view. When Shane refuses, Chris calls him names and tempts him to fight. Shane works very hard not to lose his temper. He walks out of the saloon and heads for home with Bob, causing Chris to think that he is too chicken to fight. When Shane and Bob arrive at home, they tell Joe about what has happened. He is pleased about Shane’s self-control, but he worries about what will happen next.


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