Briar Rose

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Briar Rose by Jane Yolen shows how characters are important to the central ideas of the novel and this is shown by the use of many techniques within the characters such as Becca or Gemma. Becca is by far the most developed of the characters and the one that readers most engage with. Through Becca's interaction with the other characters, including her dialogue, we develop an understanding of her sensitivity and youth. So how is Becca important to the central ideas of the novel?

Becca is another important protagonist in the novel and it is evident that there are many similarities between Becca and Gemma. Becca is the modern day fairytale heroine; she is gentle, sensitive and loving. The composer has portrayed her as Cinderella, she is surrounded by the evil and nasty attitudes of her two sisters and she sees Stan as her modern day prince. Yolen does this on purpose to help create a sense of fairytales. Much like Gemma, Becca too has beautiful red locks and shares the same facial features; “Becca touched her own springy red hair and smiled, she and Gemma the family roses…” Furthermore there is also reference to Becca resembling sleeping beauty, “sort of a sleeping beauty, are you?”. The juxtaposition of Becca’s modern day story with Gemma’s story further highlights Becca’s similarities to her grandmother.

Becca is a passive and an unselfish character throughout the text. She is the only person with the determination and strength to find the “castle” and the “makers of the spells” referred to in Gemma’s metaphorical retelling of the Holocaust. It is apparent from the beginning of the text that Becca is different from her sisters as she “was not part of their magic circle and never had been”.

Becca is inspired by aspects of Cinderella and can be seen as a Cinderella figure which Yolen has alluded to in Briar Rose. For example, whilst her two older sisters argue, Becca serves food at Gemma’s wake. Josef also refers to Becca as princess throughout the novel...
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