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Free Study Guide for Shane by Jack Schaefer

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Fletcher spreads the story that Shane has retreated from Chris in fear. He also repeatedly sends his men to the Starrett farm to make snide remarks about pigs. Joe and Shane maintain control with difficulty, but never lose their tempers. Soon the other farmers question the wisdom of Shane and Joe not fighting back. It is obvious that they do not respect their self-control. Shane cannot bear to see the changed attitude towards Joe. As a result, he leaves the farm for a period of time. When he returns, he tells Joe, “Your pigs are dead and buried.”

Ed Howells soon arrives to tell Joe what he has seen. Shane has fought with Chris and beaten him badly. At the end of the fight, Chris was a crumpled and bloody mess. Shane picks him up, wipes the blood from his face, and checks him for any broken bones.

After the fight, the village farmers again give their respect to Joe. Shane is pleased about their changed attitudes, and Joe is happy to have the farmers on his side once again. Marian, however, feels no pleasure; she worries about what is going to happen to Shane. Her anxiety increases the tension of the plot.


Fletcher works in devious ways. He sends his men to the Starrett farm to make snide and crude remarks about a pig in the field, an obvious reference to Shane. The narrow-minded village farmers do not understand why Joe and Shane do not fight back. They react by losing respect for both men. Shane, unable to tolerate the unfair judgement of Joe, decides he must fight back alone. He leaves the farm and seeks out Chris. In the fight between the two men, Chris is beaten badly. As his opponent lies in a bloody, crumpled heap, Shane again shows his dignity when he picks Chris up and wipes the blood from his face.

The immediate response of the village farmers is to have a new respect for both Shane and Joe. Marian, however, is worried about Shane’s victory. She fears that Fletcher will retaliate, and she worries that Shane will be forced to use his abilities as a gunman. It seems that his past is slowing catching up to him once again.



After the fight with Chris, Shane is a changed man. The serenity that he had found at the Starrett farm is now destroyed. He grows restless to the point of desperation. Bob, sensing the difference in his hero, asks him about his fight with Chris. Shane begs him to understand why he had to fight.

Often after dinner, Shane slips out to be by himself. Bob sometimes follows him and finds his hero on his horse in the pasture, staring out over the land. Bob also overhears a confusing conversation between his mother and Shane. Marian explains that she understands Shane’s need to move on, but she asks him to stay on the farm for Joe’s sake. Shane then asks whether she wants him to stay as well. After a slight hesitation, Marian admits the she also needs him to stay, stating it would be hard for both she and Joe to lose Shane. The conversation ends with Shane promising to stay.


The fight with Chris changes Shane. He is once more haunted by his past life as a gunman and fears he may be forced to use his gun again to protect himself and the Starretts from Fletcher and his men. He thinks about leaving the Starrett farm in order to avoid trouble. Marian, however, begs Shane to stay, saying that Joe needs his help. She also admits that she wants him to stay for her own sake, for he is a pleasant diversion for Marian. Going against his basic instinct, Shane promises to stay on the farm to help Joe.


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