In The Shawl, Rosa is driven by the undeniable force that is maternal love, and attempts to hide Magda for as long as she can, to protect her daughter from peril. Even though Rosa is aware she will suffer an inevitable grim fate, as it says in the story “Rosa knew Magda was going to die very soon” (267), she continues to try to shelter her child in the shawl. The shawl is symbol of the encompassing quality of a mother’s love and how the lack of it can have tragic consequences. The descriptive details of the setting, along with the established character traits, such as Magda’s silent suffering from lice
infestation, or how the characters learn to pacify their starvation with “drink(ing) the taste of a finger in one’s mouth” (267) make the story heart wrenching to imagine having to experience such horr...
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...ht I didn’t think she was a good player, but in my mind I was encouraging her to do her very best when I saw she may have been slacking off. Her viewpoint differed from mine, similar to the difference in view point between Jing Mei and her mother.
Had I read these stories before I became a mother, I probably would have interpreted the plight of the character’s differently. My heart might not have sunken in my chest the way it did when I read how Rosa had to watch her daughter die in such a horrible way, or have related to Phoenix’s struggle. What different people get from these stories can depend on their existing views on life in general, they might not relate or form the same type of empathy as I did for the story’s characters. Overall I am grateful, I believe being a woman and a mother helps me have better comprehension for stories such as these.
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