Briar Rose Allegory

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Jane Yolen, in her novel Briar Rose, has used an allegory of Briar Rose or Sleeping Beauty as a metaphor to hide the real experiences and emotions suffered from the Holocaust during World War Two. The development and techniques employed within the story are extremely effective for the use of the allegory.

Yolen has used a number of techniques to assist in the use of the allegory. She has used the title Briar Rose, Yolen has selected this specific title as it is another name for Sleeping Beauty, which is the basis of the story which Gemma tells throughout the novel.

She has also kept to the structure of a typical fairy tale. She has done this to continue the allegory between the fairy tale and real life by the inclusion of characters and settings which feature in both stories and these characters include the villain, prince, hero and a castle and begins to show the experiences from the Holocaust. The Prince of the story was Aron Mandestein, who is also the hero of the story as he climbed into the pit filled with the bodies of people who had been gassed by the Nazi and pulled her out. Josef Potocki, is also a hero within the story, as it was Josef who help to resuscitate Gemma, and also provided her with assistance to escape the country. The villain within this story is the Hitler and his Nazi followers, who placed people into concentration camps and killed over a 1000 people a day. The castle, which Gemma is making reference to is the “castle”, which was a concentration camp, where the Nazi’s sent people before their death by gas.

She has used italicised text for the chapters which are Gemma’s version in sleeping beauty, which is a metaphor of Gemmas' life during the Holocaust, which is tells as she is unable to directly speak about the her past experiences but still wants to pass on the information, so that it is not forgotten. This has been done to draw attention to the fairy tale and therefore the allegory. By bringing the fairy tale to the readers...
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