Briar Rose

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The Power Of Story

Stories have influenced and shaped our lives, but how do they maintain their strength, whilst providing a powerful mechanism linking the past and the present? To protect and retain their essence, the stories power is reinforced, providing enough ability to survive.

Exploring the concept, of the power of story, Jane Yolen’s novel, “Briar Rose” portrays an allegorical story of the Holocaust, hidden within a metaphorical fairytale. Yolen exposes, the historical nightmare, explaining the world and the forces of evil that are dominant within it, entrapped within a classical tale of Sleeping Beauty.

Utilising stories, the powerful fairy tale genre, is used to soften the unpleasantness of history. This is evident when Gemma refers to the Nazi’s as “big black boots and silver eagles on her hat.”

The horrors depicted through story, reveal the enclosure of the Nazi concentration, as “..a briary hedge.. with thorns as sharp as barbs,” this reveals the imprisonment of the victims as they are unable to escape the powerful “mist.”

The use of narrative strands to connect the modern day fairy story is recognised, and the power of story is discovered. Through the meaning of stories, the power is comprehended when the metaphorical becomes real and the fantasy becomes fact.

As Becca, pieces together her grandmother’s past, she questions her ability to discover the hidden truth embedded in the significant fairy-tale, “You life… How can I possibly fill it in nearly fifty years later?”

The evidence discovered and truths uncovered from various individuals, integrate missing sections of Gemma tale. This reinforces the significance that stories can have in our personal life, “We are made of stories. And even the ones that seem most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths.”

The successive combination of many ‘stories’ into one seamless whole is only possible because “Becca…understood the rhythm of a story.” As the classic ingredients are...
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