Briar Rose

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Briar Rose Essay
Briar Rose is centred on one woman's Holocaust experience intermixed with the fairy-tale, Sleeping Beauty. Jane Yolen creates a fractured version of the tale through the use of fairy-tale elements such as a prince and the curse of a long sleep which are used to connect the readers to the horrors of the extermination camp Chelmno. The main themes concerning this novel are identity which is reflected through Gemma. Family love and loyalty, regards Becca and her family. Journey/Quest for meaning, the journey that Becca undergoes to fulfil her promise. Survival of the Human spirit which is the dedication shown through Becca and Josef for uncovering Gemma’s past, Good vs. Evil which takes place in Gemma’s story and Heroism which is a major trait in Josef. Survival of the human spirit is a person’s determination and willingness to survive, this creates and intertwining of a person’s spirit and mind. ‘Buried.’ This is symbolic of Gemma losing her memory and taking on the role of Briar Rose as a result of being gassed at Chelmno. ‘I am with child and I will not let it die.” Gemma is represented as having true innocence and goodness. Her relationship with Becca was built on these characteristics and values which leads Gemma’s decision in asking Becca to carry her spirit on in an attempt to restore her own piece of mind of who she once was. Love and loyalty is key in having a successful and healthy family or a healthy partnership. Gemma’s dying wish was for a promise to be kept by the youngest of her grandchildren Becca. “It had all become a fairy-tale for her,” this is in relation to her last wish, “Promise me you will find the castle. Promise me you will find the maker of the spells.” Becca turns to her editor for support on finding Gemma’s symbolic castle and prince. In the majority of all fairy tales, the happily ever after ending ends with happiness and love with a special someone, Becca’s decision to turn to Stan demonstrates this cliché by...
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