Essay on The Shawl

Essay on The Shawl

Length: 1247 words (3.6 double-spaced pages)

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Born and raised in a family of storytellers, it’s no wonder that this author, Louise Erdrich became a prolific writer. Louise was born in Little Falls, Minnesota. She grew up in Wahpeton, North Dakota, near the Chippewa Reservation with her mom, who had Native American roots and her dad who was of German descent. Her parents encouraged and challenged her at an early age to read, also to write stories and even paid her a nickel for each one that she wrote. Lorena Stookey states that Louise Erdrich’s style of writing is “like William Faulkner, she creates a fictional world and peoples it with multiple narrators whose voices commingle to shape her readers’ experience of that world” (Stookey 14). Louise writes this moving story “The Shawl” as she is haunted by the sorrows of the generations of her people, the Anishinaabeg. I initially saw this tale as a very complex reading, but after careful reading and consideration, saw it as a sad and compelling story.
This story speaks of a married woman who fell in love with a man who was not her husband. She bore this man a child and realized that she could not live without him. In the event, she decides to leave her husband to be with the child’s father. However, there is only one problem and that is that she has two other children by her husband. She has a daughter who is 9 years old and is very mature for her age, and a darling son who is 5 years old. As she leaves to restart her life again with this other man, the 5 year old son is left behind to stay with his dad, and the little girl is tragically killed by a pack of wolves. The little boy is devastated by his mom’s decision to leave him behind. He is constantly haunted by dreams and images that come to his mind surrounding his mother’s...


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...brother to that little girl?” Don't you think she lifted her shawl and flew? (Erdrich 398)
In conclusion, this was an awesome story. The above questions were the catalyst to the real truth that would make the brother to that little girl free at last. His son was determined to break the cycle and remedy this generational condition, although the means by which he used were terrible. But, he would get through to his father. He shed light in the dark place by first beating his father into sobriety, so that he could think clearly. He then helped his father to open up to the discussion concerning the secret he had held on to for so long. Then, he also convinced his father to burn the “Shawl” of his deceased sister. And finally, his father realized what the true story was. A story that would in turn loose the tie that bound them all together with generational sorrows.


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