The Shawl Louise Erdrich Analysis

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The skepticism of Aanakwad led the father to believe that he “saw Aanakwad swing the girl lightly out over the side of the wagon” (Erdrich 393). Louise Erdrich plays with the reader’s assumptions to prove a point; there is more to a story than stated. “The Shawl” portrays traumatic family issues originating from the narrator’s grandparents. Erdrich shows the parting by describing the lasting and detrimental effects on the family each generation. Erdrich, however, utilizes both symbolism and human assumption to convey her point. Erdrich displays Aanakwad’s emotions to symbolize a cloud and the shawl’s memories to show effects.
Erdrich utilizes symbolism in Aanakwad’s name, which means cloud. The cloud defines Aanakwad’s personality, ever-changing. Throughout the short story it can be assumed that Aanakwad was in love with the grandfather at some point, but, her love, like a cloud, drifted from the grandfather to the other man. Aanakwad “…filled with storms” and devastated everything in her path (Erdrich 391). The storm enabled the sister to claim Aanakwad’s figure over her children, which leads to shock when the storm claims the sister.
The shawl was a memento of the sister’s motherly figure symbolizing the peaceful past. The shawl was the
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After the owner of the shawl’s apparent death, the father “truly did not care if he was alive or dead” (Erdrich 392). The father’s mentality broke, he keeps the shawl as a memento for his sister, but it also led to a drinking problem and his children avoiding him. By holding onto this symbol, the father binds himself to his childhood dilemma. The narrator readies himself to convince his father of what he has been doing to his family. The narrator then claims that keeping a deceased person’s possession is unwise. After the father breaks the bind that kept him to his trauma, it could be assumed that he lived the rest of his life with his

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