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Jan Lowman

English A1 HL, Paper #1. (a)


Introduction to a Commentary on a Passage from R L Sasakis The Loom
This passage depicts a family, in particular an aging mother and her daughters. The mothers depression,
perhaps a result of her empty nest after a lifetime of child-rearing, is alleviated when her middle
daughter, Sharon, gives her a loom. Through her weaving, the mother revisits the days when she was
central to her daughters lives, becomes part of a community of weaving friends, and finds a subtle
means of expression of her own internal colors. Sasakis minimalistic use of dialogue and
characterization, her color and nature imagery, and the archetypal symbolism of weaving and the loom
all combine to evoke the miraculous, mystical fabric of family life.
II. Sasakis understated dialogue and characterization demonstrate the tensions and underlying love
between the characters.
A. Movement from I give up to Youd never know it unless you looked real close. Jo
1. Figurative quality to opening descriptions of the mothers state
2. Abroad, Michael, leaving. . .
B. Lindaloyal, staunch; Terrys mother at Bachans houseno dialogue?
C. Sharongave her mother a loom, helpful, teaching/gallery, Put it on
D. blue, Cathys favorite colordead? Otherwise absent?
III. Color and nature imagery evoke the nostalgic beauty of the mothers relationship to her children and
the subdued loveliness of the mother herself.
A. Allusion? bending to the loom with painstaking attention, threading the warp tirelessly,
endlessly winding, threading, tying
B. five inches of one weave, two inches of anotherprecise, exact, small
C. Colorssubdued, neutral but with flashes of color (You know, theres actually red in here. .
. and even bits of green.) The need to look closely!
D. Golden brownCentral Valley
E. Cool, emerald watersMerced River
F. Foodeggs, pickled vegetables, white rice balls
IV. Archetypal symbolism of the loom and weaving enlarge this passage into an evocation of the
timeless care of maternal affection.
A. Ll. 14-20 (hidden color, like the mothers hidden personality)
B. The muffler was warm about Jos necksymbol of maternal caring
C. Final sentencelink to universal womanhood
V. Rephrasing of Sasakis minimalistic use of dialogue and characterization, her color and nature
imagery, and the archetypal symbolism of weaving and the loom all combine to evoke the miraculous,
mystical fabric of family life. The initial impression that the mother is mentally ill, echoed subtly at the
end as she leans as an object of lighter mass naturally tends toward a more substantial one, dissipates
with because of the therapeutic weaving.