Capricious; adjective; subject to, led by, or indicative of a sudden, odd notion or unpredictable change; erratic.

From The Shawl by Louise Erdrich: “He became, for us, a thing to be avoided, outsmarted, and exploited. We survived off him as if he were a capricious and dangerous line of work. I suppose we stopped thinking of him as a human being, certainly as a father.”

After searching this word, I see that the narrator was describing his father as something dangerous and unpredictable. He and the siblings he was referring to saw their father as someone crazy.


Monotonously; adjective; lacking in variety, tediously unvarying.

From The Shawl by Louise Erdrich: “If she could have thrown off that wronghearted love, she would have, but the thought of the other man, who lived across the lake, was with her always. She became a gray sky, stared monotonously at the walls, sometimes wept into her hands for hours at a time.”

After searching this word, I now understand that the narrator described the women as boring, having no variety or activity. She had become flat.