The Shawl

1050 Words5 Pages
“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…show more content…
“I’d do some damage, I was sure of it. I’d teach him not to mess with me. I wanted to smack the living shit out of him. Kill him, if I must.” He refused to fall into the same trap and wicked pattern as his father. He was finally going to stand up for himself and create a life for himself and his brother and sister that was not constantly ruled by the glass being half full. He definitely had every right to be mad at his father, since his father was anything but that. However, it was hard to be mad at him when he didn’t even bother to fight back. “Suddenly, he was my father again. And when I knelt down next to him, I was his son.” The father put all the ugly perception behind him and ignored the past, in order to finally emerge with a sober voice. Both the son and the father came to the realization that there might be another way to interpret the story. “Did you know I had a sister once?” This line by the father is presented in such a way that the boy is given a chance to interpret it, form his own opinion, instead of having a negative one shoved down his throat like it was repulsive tasting cough syrup. A brighter reality emerged once a broader perception was taken on Aanakwad and the sister. “Some get away, like my brother and sister, married now and living quietly down the road. And me, to some degree, though I prefer to live alone. And even my father, who recently found a woman.” Releasing the shawl was a process of cleansing that allowed the
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