The Shawl By Louise Ercrich

1. “His father’s chest was broad and, although he already spat the tubercular blood that would write the end of his story, he was still a strong man. It would take him many years to die. In those years, the father would tell the boy, who had forgotten this part entirely, that at first when he talked about the shadows the father thought he’d been visited by manidoog. But then, as the boy described the shapes, his father had understood that they were not spirits.”

2.This passage to me is foreshadowing what will happen to the son as well as comparing and contrasting them.The first thing they talk about was how strong his father was.and then talk about how long it would take for his father to die.When he becomes a father he goes through the same thing his father does however does not break as easily.The father only weakens when he physically weakens and he finally tells his son what he believed to be the truth after years if holding it in.The son however is in the same situation and he becomes a drunk and beats his kids.I don’t think this was random there’s too much of a difference in how they react for it to be anything but a comparison between them.

3.I believe that the whole story is about many things.This comparison of weak and strong is also else where in the book.The husband tried to love his wife even though she had a baby with another guy,the wife on the other hand could not get the other guy out of her head and as a result could not appreciate her husband.The daughter more than likely saved her mothers life by jumping to the wolves which takes a certain strength she will die knowing that she did something good,the father knows he tried to love his wife and that she acted selfishly and tore apart their family and as a result their daughter that she wanted so badly died and the mother has to deal with this for the rest of her life if shes still alive.
I think there is an under lying theme of using strength for good and being rewarded in some way.

4.This idea can be found in many passages an books.One of my favorites is the battles that batman and joker have.Batman could easily kill joker if he wanted too.However batman just smashes his plans time and time again and sends him to jail.But why does batman feel as if killing a killer would be wrong? batman says that “Killing a killer does nothing but increase the number of killers in the world.” So it can be said that batman’ reward is being better than those he stops and keeps his peace of mind.

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