Tag Archives: “The Shawl” — Erdrich


plural noun
1.the kidneys.
2.the region of the kidneys, or the lower part of the back.
3.(especially in Biblical use) the seat of the feelings or affections, formerly identified with the kidneys.
“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.”
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich (Paragraph 4)


1.lacking in variety; tediously unvarying:the monotonous flat scenery.
2.characterizing a sound continuing on one note.
3.having very little inflection; limited to a narrow pitch range.
“She became a gray sky, stared monotonously at the walls, sometimes wept into her hands for hours at a time.”
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich (Paragraph 2)


verb (used without object), jutted, jutting.
1.to extend beyond the main body or line; project;protrude (often followed by out):
“She was moody and sullen one moment, her lower lip jutting and her eyes flashing, filled with storms. The next, she would shake her hair over her face and blow it straight out in front of her to make her children scream with laughter.”
The Shawl by Louise Erdrich (First Paragraph) 


barge (v) : to move or push in a fast, awkward and often rude way

Definition from Merriam-Webster (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barge)

From The Shawl by Louise Erdrich (Paragraph 9)

The kind where, when he came home, we’d jump out the window and hide in the woods while he barged around, shouting for us.

After the mother died, the father became alcoholic and came home drunk. And every time he came home drunk, the kids jumped out the window to hide in the woods, avoiding their father, and the father moved around and looked for the kids.



tubercular of, relating to, or affected with tuberculosis

Tuberculosis -a highly variable communicable disease of humans and some other vertebrates that is caused by the tubercle bacillus and rarely in the United States by a related mycobacterium, that affects especially the lungs but may spread to other areas, and that is characterized by fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, formation of tubercles, caseation, pleural effusions, and fibrosis

The Shawl by Louise Erdrich

“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”

The narrator explain that Jackson father had a disease Called Tuberculosis and before he passed away he use to spit blood which was a part of the disease.



monotonously—used to describe something that is boring because it is always the same.

The Shawl by Louise Erdrich

“‘She became a gray sky stared monotonously at the wall, sometimes wept into her hands for hours at s time”

The narrator shows how the mother became depressed that she was in love with a man who lives else where. she was sad and just stared into the wall that was the same.



Exploit verb \ik-ˈsploit, ˈek-ˌ\

a: to make productive use of :  utilize <exploiting your talents> <exploit your opponent’s weakness>

b:  to make use of meanly or unfairly for one’s own advantage <exploiting migrant farm workers>

“He became, for us, a thing to be avoided, outsmarted, and exploited.”

The Shawl paragraph 11

Initially I thought of exploited as a noun and it didn’t make much sense since the other two words were verbs. The father was a thing for that was to be avoided, outsmarted and utilized.