The significance of this quote

Nomi’s mother is never really developed within ‘A Complicated Kindness’ but is evidenced through Nomi’s reflections on her past life, a life that took her mother and sister from her.

Nomi’s mother was excommunicated from the community in which she and her family lived. Quote 1 provides insight into how the plot will unfold by way of short sharp snippets of what, why, where and how things happen in Nomi’s life and her struggle to deal with the fate bestowed upon her.

The significance of this quote to the plot of the narrative is clear because it illustrates how Nomi would prefer to believe her mother was travelling which in reality cannot be so, for how can she be travelling without a passport. Such inference assumes that she is wandering aimlessly or maybe even dead – as dead as the ghost she appears to be in Nomi’s life.
Only the “ID information” and a “black-and-white photo” are in the passport which again connotes a feeling of futility; we know Nomi’s mother existed or exists because the passport is provided in testimony of her being but that is all that is left of her existence other than memories for Nomi.
The fact that the passport has no stamps or evidence of use helps to illustrate the life her mother lived; a life confined to one location, which was one of oppression and governed by rules. The photo provides confirmation for Nomi and readers that her mother, although living within the small community of Manitoba and possessing a passport never used, was hopeful of a better life, a life of travel and experience but a life that would never eventuate.
The passport and its contents not only serve to carry forward the plot of Nomi’s story but also to provide evidence of her mother’s existence, the hope and dreams she desired and the stark reality that she was in fact now only a ghost in Nomi’s memories and reflections.
He (Sheridan) said it gave him the creeps because that was where his mom had killed herself years ago? When it happened, years ago, Sheridan’s mom went nuts. Trudie had told me and Tash that she thought Sheridan’s dad should have left town to save his mom the pain of having to pretend he was dead. She’d really loved him. They’d had a lot of fun together when he wasn’t drunk (36-37).
East Village Manitoba is a place filled with pretence, double standards, and secrecy. This quote is pertinent in that it reflects the irony evident in the lives of Manitoba’s community.
We are told by way of a disjointed memory reflected upon by Nomi of how people living in Manitoba, more specifically in this case Sheridan and his family, live a lie. Sheridan’s father was a drunk but drank in secrecy in fear of being excommunicated from the town; his wife therefore rather than admit the truth pretended he was dead. Living a life of deceit caused Sheridan’s mother to go insane and commit suicide.
The irony of being unhappy but shamming happiness is evident throughout the novel but this quote presages the futility and despair of living that lie. Both Sheridan’s mother and father achieved nothing from their pretence except pain and downfall, which in turn led to Sheridan’s plight of having to cope with his life without either parent.
Nomi’s reference to her mother telling her and her sister Tash that they were once happy and in love serves to add more sentiment to the fact; the fact that living in a town full of oppression and rigidity in turn causes people to live a life of lies that has no ending other than misery.
Through use of this quote and Nomi’s reflection we realize that living in fear of excommunication, people of Manitoba are forced to secrete what they do, but in doing so they are excommunicating themselves from their families, each other and most importantly themselves.

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