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Rashad by John Edgar Wideman

            Rashad is a short story that deals with struggles of a mother-law using a gift that was given by her son in law while in Vietnam that reminds her of sad moments over the years. The banner seems to have been placed in a dark corner of her living room, which is out of view, but in sight at the same time as a sad reminder. In the beginning of the short story she is taking the banner down which cause her to reminisce. She states " How long had the banner been hanging in the corner. How long had she been in this house on Finance Street? How long had the Homewood streets been filling with snow in the winter and leaves in the fall and the cries of her children playing in the sunshine? How long since she'd driven in the nail and slipped the gold tasseled cord over so the banner hung straight?"(145-146) I see this banner hanging in the dark corner of her dilapidated house as a way for her brushing the bad reminders away but still holding on to painful memories.
             The banner was made from a peace offering from her to her son in law before going to war a picture of her granddaughter. Rashad had been a recovering addict probably from heroin and cleaned himself up before going to the military. I believe Rashad had good intentions for the banner as a gift but it didn't turn out that way. His daughter who it was suppose to resemble did not like it she stated, "Take it down, Grammy. Please take that ugly thing down" (148). But I believe his mother in law wanted the banner to have a good meaning and intentions but didn't work out that way. When she told her granddaughter "your daddy paid lots of money for that picture someday you'll appreciate it" (149).
             For the mother in law it was a sad reminder of Rashads drug abuse and fighting with her daughter Shirley. One of the memories that came to her was that of the first time Rashad Beat her daughter. And the chinky eyes in the banner reminded her of that.

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