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Quotes

Quote #1

She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head was turned to one side. (10)

Let's notice a few things here: first, the woman is on the lower bunk, and her husband is on the top. Symbolic of the hierarchy between men and women maybe? Second, the Indian woman's head is turned to the side. And what are we told a few lines down? "The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall" (19). So the woman and her husband are actually in the same position, mirroring one another. Hmm, maybe this contrast is worth exploring more…

Quote #2

"Oh, Daddy, can't you give her something to make her stop screaming?" asked Nick. (17)

This quote tells us that the Indian woman is in a world of pain, but it also shows us that Nick doesn't like the sight (or sound) of suffering. Her suffering is making him suffer! Ok, probably not nearly as much. But still—the kid's hurting.

Quote #3

The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall. (19)

For someone having a baby, this husband sure doesn't seem all that sympathetic to his wife's plight. On first reading, we probably assume that he's just tired of listening to screaming for the past two days. But in hindsight, we can read a lot more into this line: it occurs right after Nick's father's comment that he doesn't hear the woman's screams because they're not important. This comment is supposed to be a reflection of Nick's dad's manly stoicism in the face of adversity, but the husband clearly is affected. Who would have thought that you could convey all of that just by having a character roll over?

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