The Shawl

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“The Shawl”
“Don’t you think she lifted her shawl and flew?” Even though people can’t really fly, if one puts their mind to it, it just might be possible to figuratively take flight. However, without putting mind, body, and soul into it, it’s completely impossible. The perception of ‘I can do it’ directly correlates with the actual act of doing the impossible. Often times one’s attitudes, actions, and beliefs are influenced by those who have raised and mentored them. In the short story, “The Shawl,” Louise Erdrich declares that reality is dictated by perception and the only way to change one’s reality is to alter their perception.

Aanakwad’s husband, the grandfather, had a negative perception of Aanakwad, which created a negative perception of what happened to his daughter. From the moment that Aanakwad fell in love with the other man, the grandfather feared her and became very bitter towards her. “For he was afraid of his wife’s bad temper, and it was he who roused Aanakwad into anger by the sheer fact that he was himself and not the other.” No matter how much the grandfather tried, he could not recapture her love and because of that he lost respect for her. Despite the fact that the grandfather loved her he had to admit that their life together was no longer a happy one. Having to say goodbye to Aanakwad was not an easy thing for the grandfather and he was not satisfied with the outcome, therefore he held a grudge against Aanakwad. For many people, it is easy to place the blame on someone when they are strongly disliked. This proved true for the grandfather. Due to his hatred for Aanakwad, the grandfather had no difficulty assuming that she was to blame for the death of his daughter. “He told how when the wolves closed in Aanakwad had thrown her daughter to them.” He specifically told the story this way to his son, who as a result had a bad connotation of his mother. This eventually caused a negative reality for the father. The father’s cynical...
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