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Free Study Guide for Shane by Jack Schaefer

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After Chris is beaten by Shane, Fletcher’s men quit annoying the Starretts and the rest of the homesteaders on a regular basis. Joe and Shane, however, know that trouble will resurface and remain ever watchful.

One Saturday evening, Shane and the Starretts go into town. When they arrive, they go their separate ways. Marian meets the other farmers’ wives and exchanges gossip and recipes with them. Joe looks at catalogues of farm equipment. Bob explores the general store. Shane enters the saloon to have a drink. Bob notices that several dark, hulking bodies crowd outside the window of the saloon looking inside. He races to Shane to warn him about what he has seen. Shane advises Bob to go outside, but the boy hides to watch what happens.

Morgan, one of Fletcher’s men, leads a group into the saloon. Knowing the reason for their presence, Shane flies at Morgan and attacks him. Both bodies roll on the floor. Shane then begins to move like the wind, dodging blows and striking Morgan. Unfortunately, Morgan gets behind Shane and smashes a bottle on his head, causing Shane to slump to the floor. As Shane falls to the floor, Bob sees his father at the entrance looking big and terrible. Joe hurtles into Morgan with full force, allowing Shane time to come to his senses and rejoin the fight. Bob also notices that his mother is watching the fight with pride in her eyes.

Before long the fight is over. Shane drives his fist into Morgan’s face and strikes him on the neck. Morgan slumps to the floor, limp all over.


The fight with Morgan is a foreshadowing of the outcome of the plot. As Shane has expected, Fletcher sends his men to attack him in retaliation. When Shane enters the saloon alone, several of Fletcher’s men, led by Morgan, enter behind him. Realizing the reason for their presence, Shane flies into Morgan. A vicious fight ensues. When Shane is getting the better of Morgan in the fistfight, he ruthlessly picks up a bottle and smashes it over Shane’s head, knocking him to the floor. Joe, entering the saloon, sees what is happening and immediately attacks Morgan. Shane regains consciousness and rejoins the fight. Soon he punches Morgan in the face and strikes him hard on the neck, sending him to the floor in a limp heap. Marian, who has watched the fight, is proud of her husband and Shane.

This victory over Morgan clearly foreshadows the fact that Shane, with Joe’s help, will be able to overcome and subdue Fletcher’s men. He has clearly proven that he is a strong and powerful opponent, who should be feared. Even the young Bob, who has watched the whole fight, senses the inner power of his hero and firmly believes he can beat any man who dares to challenge him.

Shane is relieved that the conflict with Fletcher is now out in the open. He suddenly feels less anxious, “happy that the waiting was over.”



After the fight, Shane is battered and bloody, but his tireless, indestructible strength is apparent to all who see him. When the some of the village farmers offer to help him, he refuses their aid. He does, however, allow Joe to carry him back to the farm. Back at home, Marian cleans Shane’s wounds with tenderness. She also takes care of her husband. Proud of her two men, she openly admits emotions.

Exhausted from the tensions of the day, Marian breaks into sobs. Joe does not know how to react, but Shane tries to comfort her by putting his hand gently on her hair. He then leaves her alone with her husband. Marian calls to Joe, and he comes forward and embraces her. He then admits that Shane is really a better man than he.


This chapter is filled with emotion. After the fight, Shane, though bruised and bloody, holds his head high with confidence and pride. The village farmers are amazed at his strength and offer to help him. Shane, however, refuses them and accepts only Joe’s offer of aid. As they travel towards home, Shane and Joe discuss the fight with relish, discussing every blow. Now there is a deeper camaraderie than ever between the two men.

Back at home, Marian's love for both Shane and her husband is shown in her tender care as she nurses their wounded bodies. When her work is complete, she can no longer hold her deep emotions in check and bursts into sobs. Shane tries to calm her by gently touching her hair. Then out of respect, he departs to leave her alone with her husband. Joe understands and accepts the deep emotion that exists between the two of them.

When they are alone, Marian calls to Joe. He comes forward and embraces her with tenderness. He also admits that Shane is a better man than he. Since he has learned to love and trust this new member of the family, he assures his wife that “whatever happens will be right.”


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