Author Archives: olakunle ilori



a usually poor town or section of a town consisting mostly of shacks.

I encountered this word in You in America.

“You felt safe in his arms,the same safeness you felt back home,in the shanty house of zinc”

I was not really sure what this meant.Zinc and house do not go together often.The definition and location make sense when you add the zinc.



” to make shiny or lustrous especially by rubbing”

I encountered this word in You in America

“You thought of your sister back home,about her skin color of honey,and you wished you came out like her.You wished that again the night you first met his parents.But you did not tell him because he would solemn and hold your hand and tell you it was your burnished skin color that first attracted him.”

Given the context And the word burn I actually thought that this meant he liked her because she was really dark.However now that I know what this word really means it means a lot more than just dark,it means that her skin was smooth and velvet looking as well as dark.

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.

Research Annotation

My research  annotation is about  the different race laws around the time the book was written.

“ Public Assemblages Act, the General Assembly required the racial segregation of all public events in Virginia. The act became law without the signature of Governor Harry F. Byrd Sr. on March 22, 1926”  

As well as the Colored persons and Indians defined Code of Virginia (1924) which defined a  colored person as having one-sixteenth or more “negro blood”.

And finally “Another proposed law, to be white a person must have “no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian”—in other words, the standard already being applied by Walter Plecker. However, people who had less than one sixty-fourth part Indian and no African American heritage would still be considered white.”   



These are just some of the  examples  of race law that would have been i affect when then character would gave been born.These examples show us that people like Helga were being put into an unsavory position.

Laws like this were rampant in the south where she was and its important to know this because it adds to her feeling of not belonging even more.If there was a annotation on the many race laws of the time people would really start to understand Helga’s internal struggle even more.





The emblems, symbols, or paraphernalia indicative of royalty

I encountered this word in What you pawn i will redeem on page one upper third paragraph on the right of the page.

“I didn’t know for sure,because I hadn’t seen the regalia in person ever.Id only seen a photograph of my grandmother dancing in it.

I knew that regalia had something to do with royalty so it seemed sort of out of place in this story.However it makes sense that people other than royalty have adopted regalia,royal bloodlines have all but dried out.



extreme vigor or energy

I encountered this word on page 225

“She was anxious to be a true help-
mate, for in her heart was a feeling of obliga-
tion, of humble gratitude.
In her ardor and sincerity Helga even
made some small beginnings. True, she was not
very successful in this matter of innovations.”

I knew that this word was connected to sincerity in a way but I could not tell which way. This passage now makes more sense because it fits with her characterization as the preachers wife.Helga has shown that she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere.Not with her family,not with her friend who shares the same tastes,not with black people in Harlem and not even at a place where she was pampered.Helga saw a chance here and took it.Now shes loved as the preachers wife and shes trying hard to be perfect and teach others to be aesthetically pleasing.Her life as the preachers wife has made her work hard because she thinks shes going to get what shes always wanted.A family,a place to belong.Helga is putting as much energy as she can into this situation because she does not want o lose the only chance she believes she has at happiness/a place to belong.



“practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline”

This word was encountered on pg 211

“Robert Anderson’s inexorable conscience that
had been the chief factor in bringing about her
second marriage—his ascetic protest against

the sensuous, the physical. ”

I have never seen this word before so I had zero clue what it meant. However since protest came after it I thought it meant either violent or non violent. Now that I know what it means I realized that it could mean either or,plus neither.



“Affected by timidity”

this word was encountered on page 203

“Just what is it, Helga?” he asked
again, because the pause had grown awkward,
for him.
“I can’t explain any better than I have,”
she had begun tremulously, “it’s just some-
thing—something deep down inside of me,”
and had turned away to hide a face convulsed
by threatening tears.”

This word when I first saw it reminded me of tremor.I thought that since they were touching a touchy subject that she got upset.Now that I have looked up this word i realize that she is upset however she isn’t just upset she’s slightly embarrassed and is feeling other things too.


Lassitude :Noun

a condition characterized by lack of interest, energy, or spirit

I encountered this word in ch 19 of quicksand.”Helga met Dr. Anderson at the social affairs to which often they were both asked. Sometimes she danced with him, always in perfect silence. She couldn’t, she ab-solutely couldn’t, speak a word to him when they were thus alone together, for at such times lassitude encompassed her; ”

I have never seen this word before I actually thought it meant something along the lines of guilty accompanied by joy.I thought this because of what happened between them,but despite that she’s still around him.Now that I know that this word is basically saying she’s in a drugged like state I’m wondering if maybe it’s trying to become an excuse for her lack of action.

Continue reading


Procession :Noun

A group of individuals moving along in an orderly often ceremonial way

I encountered this word in quicksand on page 215  “Always when she encountered one of those picturesque parades in the Harlem streets, the Stars and Stripes streaming ironically, insolently, at the head of the procession tempered for her, a little, her amusement at the childish seriousness of the spectacle.”

I had never seen this word before however I knew it had something to do with what helga was watching.But I didn’t know wether or not it was negative or positive or if it was a term to classify the people In the group as something positive or negative.