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The center of narrative interest in the story is Rosa, the mother, who hides Magda within the shawl. She has been arrested by the Nazis and imprisoned because she is Jewish (paragraph 2). She has been so maltreated that she is losing touch with reality. For example, she hears voices in the surrounding fence, and also feels that she has become light as air. Her response to hunger is probably realistic, however, for with no food to satisfy her "ravenous" appetite she learns to "drink the taste of a finger in one’s mouth" (paragraph 5), and at the story’s end she has become like her lost infant, Magda, as she drinks "Magda’s shawl until it dried" (paragraph 16).
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