Shane Shane is a classic example of western fiction in which Schaefer contrasts the values of the isolated family farm with the lawlessness of the cowtown. Shane, the gunfighter protagonist, attempts to find peace with the farmers but can only help clear away the violence for the civilization the farmers bring. Schaefer reveals the difficult struggles of homesteaders who fight to bring justice to an ungoverned land, and strives to fulfill the hopes and promises of prosperity to their families. The reality in the struggles of these farmers were supported with an accurate correspondence to history (e.g. The Homestead Act) and with detailed and atmospheric languages.
The language is easily understandable and helps the reader to better comprehend the book. It is simply a great page turner. Although it is a fictional work, it does not fail to portray the harsh life style of the westerners of the 1800’s. While the book depicts some of the western struggles, it adds an element of suspense as a novel as well with the battle between a protagonist and antagonists. Images of blood occur often in the book to emphasize the risk involved in living a western life, especially where justice does not exist.
The simple language of the book does not hinder from creating its lively images, rather it makes it easier for the readers to comprehend the book. The absence of flashbacks or allusions further strengthens the simplicity of the book. The story is told through the eyes of an omniscient observer who especially concentrates on the Starrett family. Such concentration does not allow the reader to observe the lifestyles of other homesteaders; the Starrett family basically symbolizes the homesteader of that era. This particular view- point favors the triumph of good versus the evil.
This old-fashioned philosophy on the battles between the good versus evil is still a universal theme, and therefore is able to appeal to today’s young readers. Despite the brevity of the book, Schaefer has included all the necessary items to describe the lives of homesteaders: the struggle against famines, the competition for more land, etc. The author has limited the sophistication of its language because the novel is geared toward younger ages, and to tell the lives of simple homesteaders in a simple and undisguised way. Furthermore, the author has admirably utilized its simple language to bring a novel filled with gracious images of hope and death. The universal theme of good versus evil creates the suspense required for the novel and is appealing even to the modern society.
This novel is more than a mere juvenile literature because it teaches the cruelty of life in the society by using the homesteader, which can be better related to adults.