Shane: Top Ten Quotes

“A man who watches what is going on around him will make his mark.”
p. 6
Shane speaks to Bob for the first time. He has just noted that Bob was watching him for a long time as he approached the farm. The remark makes a big impact on Bob, and it marks the beginning of their relationship.

“He was a man like father in whom a boy could believe in the simple knowing that what was beyond comprehension was still clean and solid and bright.”
p. 21
Bob gives expression to his feelings about Shane after Shane first starts to attack the stubborn stump with an axe. He is no longer afraid of him and knows that although Shane may be dangerous, he—Bob—and his family are safe with him.

“What a man knows isn’t important. It’s what he is that counts.”
p. 41
Joe Starrett speaks. He has just hired Shane to work on the farm, and Marian has just pointed out that Shane knows nothing about farming. Joe’s reply shows his confidence in the new man and the importance of individual character.

“It was funny how, touching the gun, the hands seemed to have an intelligence all their own, a sure movement that needed no guidance of thought. . . . With him that old pistol seemed alive, not an inanimate and rusting metal object, but an extension of the man himself.”
p. 54
Bob describes his observations as Shane handles Bob’s old broken pistol, showing him how to use it to best advantage. It is here that Shane reveals himself to be an experienced gunslinger of the sort that the Wild West was known for.

“Shane pulled himself erect. His eyes blazed refusal. Straight and superb, not a tremor in him, he came to us and you knew that the spirit in him would sustain him thus alone for the farthest distance and forever.”
p. 98
In the immediate aftermath of the fight with Morgan, Shane is bloody. He has taken serious punishment. Mr. Weir goes to help him but Shane needs no help. He shows himself to be a great example of resilience, fortitude, and strength, both inner and outer.

“When there’s noise, you know where to look and what’s happening. When things are quiet, you’ve got to be most careful.”
p. 105
Shane explains to Bob about the situation with Fletcher. This is after Shane has triumphed in the fight with Fletcher’s men. Everything seems quiet, and Bob thinks the trouble is over, but Shane and Joe know better. They know Fletcher is biding his time and will strike again when he thinks the moment is right.

“As I watched, he stretched his arms up, the fingers reaching to their utmost limits, grasping and grasping, it seemed, at the glory glowing in the sky.”
p. 128
Bob observes Shane just outside their home. The sun is setting, and Shane is making his decision that it will be him, not Joe, who goes to Grafton’s to confront Fletcher and Wilson that evening.

“Belt and holster and gun . . . These were not things he was wearing or carrying. They were part of him, part of the man, of the full sum of the integrate force that was Shane. You could see now that for the first time this man who had been living with us, who was one of us, was complete, was himself in the final effect of his being.”
p. 129
Bob describes Shane after Shane has prepared himself to confront Fletcher and Wilson.

“A man is what he is, Bob, and there’s no breaking the mold. I tried that and I’ve lost.”
p. 143
After killing Wilson and Fletcher, Shane speaks to Bob. He has tried to put his gunfighting past behind him, but he has not succeeded.

“He’s not gone. He’s here, in this place, in this place he gave us. He’s all around us and in us, and he always will be.”
p. 149
Marian speaks to Joe at the end of the novel, after Shane has left. She then explains what she means by going to the corner fence post that Shane had set. She challenges Joe to pull it down but he cannot. This shows that Shane helped them to put down roots in the valley, so in a sense he is always with them.