This is a quick book summary and analysis of Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. This channel discusses and reviews books, novels, and short stories through drawing...poorly. New Minute Book Reports are posted every week.
Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Minute-Book-Reports/1148331925195691
This is a story about a boy named Marty who lives in the countryside of West Virginia with his father, mother, and two sisters.
One day, as he is walking around in the woods, Marty discovers a dog. At first, the dog is scared, but soon follows Marty home. Marty eventually names him Shiloh. However, Marty's father tells him that he has to return Shiloh, as he belongs to Judd Travers, a mean-spirited man who mistreats his dogs.
After returning Shiloh to Judd, Marty is sad, but then finds that Shiloh has ran off to him again. Marty secretly keeps Shiloh in the woods for a while, feeding him leftovers and keeping him enclosed in a shoddy pen. However, one night, Shiloh is attacked by another loose dog.
Shiloh's wounds are bad and so Marty takes Shiloh to the town doctor. The doctor patches up the wounds, but Shiloh still needs rest.
After the entire family knows about Shiloh, they get attached to him as he recovers. However, Judd finds out that they have Shiloh and wants him back when he fully recovers.
As the days wind down until Shiloh must be returned, Marty tries to figure out how to keep Shiloh. He decides to confront Judd. However, Marty sees Judd shoot a deer out of season and cuts a deal with him that he won't report the deer shooting if Judd lets him work around his farm as payment for Shiloh.
They agree and Marty starts working for Judd, despite him suspecting that Judd will back down from the deal.
But in the end, after working for two weeks, Judd gives Marty Shiloh and the family welcomes a new member to the house.
For the majority of the story, Marty struggles with lying. He's not sure whether to tell his parents that he has Shiloh. Instead, he justifies his lying with the assumption that his father will take Shiloh back to an abusive owner.
So is it okay to lie? The story doesn't come right out and say, but what it does say is that it's not so easy in real life. People can easily judge a situation when they aren't the ones experiencing it for themselves, but when it happens to you, things tend to become more complicated.
And because of the first person narrative in present tense, readers feel like they, too, are the ones negotiating whether lying is justified. Marty knows that it's wrong to lie, but he begins to wonder if maybe lying to protect someone is okay. Ultimately, he discovers that there are no clear lines.
This story also portrays the helplessness that one can feel in a situation of abuse. To Marty, it seems like he can't win if he plays everything the "right" way. He can't prove that Judd abuses Shiloh, and even if he does, as Marty's father points out, Shiloh belongs to Judd. It may not be right, but Judd, as the owner, can do whatever he wants with his own property.
But helplessness doesn't necessarily mean hopelessness. The story's message gives readers hope that even in times of helplessness, there is still hope.
Marty works hard to buy Shiloh, but he does so knowing that Judd is under no obligation to give him the dog. Even when Judd points this out, Marty continues to work on Judd's farm.
In the end, things work out for Marty, as he gets Shiloh, but even if Judd reneged on his promise, Marty could still walk away knowing that he tried his best. And that's both the power and value of hope.
Through Minute Book Reports, hopefully you can get the plot and a few relevant discussion points in just a couple of minutes.
Music by WingoWinston from newgrounds.com.