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We must infer the mother’s situation, but it seems clear that she is economically dependent on the husband who has been assaulting her and the children. She cannot appeal for help, much as she might like to, because she would lose this support and also because she supposes that her husband would seek her out and become more severe in his abuse. The irony of the raised arm is that the sign for a blessing is the same as it would be for a blow. In addition, the raised arm is the sign made when a person, in this case the husband, pledges his word of honor. The husband made that pledge in the ceremony of marriage, but he is renouncing the pledge by committing violence against the members of his family. The references to the gesture of the raised hand should create interesting thoughts within the reader.
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