"Without a life, a person lives where they can. If all they got is thoughts, that's where they live."  Please explain this quote from "The Shawl."

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Essentially, the quote you ask about means that if one is deprived of a stimulating existence, one creates stimulation within one's mind.

So if a person is trapped, say, in prison, or in a concentration camp, a person may live within his/her own mind, creating daydreams or fantasies.  This happens often to a minor extent to many people--when they're extremely bored, for instance.  But in situations of extreme deprivation, it can happen to a major extent. 

I quickly reread the short story "The Shawl," so I could check out the context of the quote, but I don't see the quote in that story.  It's possible I was in too much of a hurry and missed it, but I didn't see it.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial