Rein (noun) : a strap fastened to a bit by which a rider or driver controls an animal —usually used in plural
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich
“As the uncle slapped the reins and the horse lurched forward, the boy tried to jump into the wagon, but his mother pried his hands off the boards, crying, Gego, gego, and he fell down hard.”
This statement explains that the wife, Aanakwad falls in love with other man and after giving birth to his child, she tries to run away from her home and she leaves her son behind as she takes her daughter and newborn baby with her on the wagon.
Sullen (adjective) : gloomily or resentfully silent or repressed, suggesting a sullen state : lowering
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich
“Her name was Aanakwad, which means cloud, and like a cloud she was changeable. She was moody and sullen one moment, her lower lip jutting and her eyes flashing, filled with storms.”
In this story, the women whose name is Aanakwad is very bad-tempered women. Her mood changes very quickly from good mood to bad mood. However, her husband loves her no matter who she is but he is also afraid of her when she gets angry.
Plaid (noun) : a rectangular length of tartan worn over the left shoulder as part of the Scottish national costume.
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich
“Soon, she couldn’t rise to cook or keep the cabin neat, and it was too much for the girl, who curled up each night exhausted in her red-and-brown plaid shawl, and slept and slept, until the husband had to wake her to awaken her mother, for he was afraid of his wife’s bad temper, and it was he who roused Aanakwad into anger by the sheer fact that he was himself and not the other.”
This statement explains how the wife is very tough women and has a bad temper. Therefore, she got tired of the housework and she gets covered to her plaid material shawl and tries to relax for a long time. When her husband notices it and she gets very annoyed with him.
Dandelion (noun) : any of a genus (Taraxacum) of yellow-flowered composite herbs with milky sap; especially : one (T. officinale) sometimes grown as a potherb and nearly cosmopolitan as a weed
The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick
” On the other side of the steel fence, far away, there were green meadows speckled with dandelion and deep-colored violets; beyond them, even farther, innocent tiger lilies, tall, lifting their orange bonnets.”
This statement describes Rose’s pain about that her daughter will die and she has no choice and let her go otherwise they all would die.
Devour (verb) : To eat up greedily or ravenously; devoured the turkey and mashed potatoes To use up or destroy as if by eating; We are devouring the world’s resources.
The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick “And The time that Stella said “Aryan” it sounded to Rosa as is Stella had really said ‘Let us devour her’ ”
Rose had a daughter named Magda and her niece’s name was Stella, They were very hungry and they cant even step an inch from the line if they do the soldiers would shoot them. Therefore, Magla is a baby who is covered by the shawl and Stella is a very young girl who tries to survive and she knows that Magla won’t last long in this condition and she is jealous by how Magla comfortable covered by the shawl. Therefore, when Stella just says “Aryan” Rose hears is as “let us eat her” and gets scared to sacrifice her child.
Satin (noun)- A smooth, glossy fabric, usually of silk, produced by a weave in which the threads of the warp are caught and looped by the weft only at certain intervals.
- ‘flowing skirts made of satin, chiffon, and velvet’
- [as modifier] ‘a blue satin dress’
“A slight girl of twenty-two, with narrow, sloping shoulders and delicate but well-turned arms and legs, she had, none the less an air of radiant, careless health. In vivid green and gold negligee and glistening brocaded mules, deeply sunk in the big high-backed chair, against whose dark tapestry her sharply cut face, with skin like yellow satin, was distinctly outlined, she wasn’t to use a hackneyed word-attractive.”
From: Quicksand: chapter 1, page 36
Helga Crane loves to wear bright colors whether it’s inside the house or outside. Therefore, she more pays attention to her skincare as well. For a women skin, care is the most important thing in order to look beautiful inside the cloths. Helga skin is very silky and soft like a Sation and it makes her look more attractive.
Flaunting (verb) – to display or obtrude oneself to public notice: a great flaunting crow – Charles Dickens.
Quicksand: chapter 13, page 99
“Left alone, Helga began to wonder. She was dubious, too, and not a little resentful. Certainly, she loved the color with a passion that perhaps only Negroes and Gypsies know. But she had a deep in the perfection of her own taste, and no mind to be bedecked in flaunting flashy things. Still- she had to admit that Fru Dahl was right about the dressing down. It did suit her. Perhaps an evening dress. And she knew that she had lovely shoulders, and her feet were nice.”
Helga has her own taste and she knows what suits her better, however, Fru Dahl recommended to were the dress as a “display” he picked for her for the evening at first, she was kind of upset but later she began to realize that Fru was right about how a dress looks good on her and her body was perfect for a dress.
Lulled (verb) – to put to sleep or rest by soothing means: to lull a child by singing.
Quicksand chapter 8, page 75.
“Again she had had that strange transforming experience, this time not so fleetingly, that magic sense of having come home. Harlem, teeming black Harlem, had welcomed her and lulled her into something that was she was certain peace and contentment.”
As we know Helga can’t stay in one place for a long time. And this place she moved to was better and she felt comfortable as a child who gets lulled by his/her sleep.
Apprehension (noun): anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.
From: Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen; Quicksand “She woke in the morning unrefreshed and with that feeling of half-terrified apprehension peculiar to Christmas and birthday morning.” Helga Crane is always sad and depressed. she doesn’t really enjoy the holidays which brings happiness. She feels terrified when festivals or any holidays come and her personality is not really exciting.
Tangible (adjective): capable of being touched; discernible by the touch; material or substantial.
From: Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen; Quicksand “Yet her conception of it had no tangibility” Helga Crane’s character is very different and she accepts the hatred as if it is a normal life and she thinks happiness isn’t even really important. therefore, she has no will of trying to be happy.