Briar Rose Chapter Notes

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Briar Rose-Jane Yolen
This module is called close study of text. It is module B of paper 2 worth 20%. This is a novel, a work of fiction. The author or composer is Jane Yolen. Context
In order to understand this novel we have to know about the NAZI, holocaust, which aimed to exterminate the Jewish people from Europe In total nearly 6 million Jews were systematically killed in NAZI occupied Europe. A Briar is a thorn or prickly plant. A Briar Rose is a beautiful flower that grows from a potentially painful plant or shrub. Chapter 1

The parts of the novel written in Italics represent the fairytale. The most important fairytale is that of “Sleeping Beauty”. There are also elements of the “Cinderella” fairytale with Silvia and Shana as the evil step-sisters who leave all the work to the Cinderella figure, Rebecca. Chapter 2

20 years later, the 3 little girls have grown up and Gemma is near death. Shana and Silvia have returned to visit and even though they are sad, they have no patience and are more worried about themselves than they are about their grandmother. In the last moment of lucidity, Gemma tells Becca “I am Briar Rose” and charges her with the final palace. Chapter 3

“The angel of death”, the bad fairy... the one in black with the big black boots and silver eagles on her hat. This is the metaphor for the NAZI’s. The SS who wore the eagle insignia and black boots. Chapter 4

“A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” This was originally said by the Whinsteon Churchill to describe Russia. It means that no-one really understood what Russia was like. The description also applies to Gemma: no-one, not even her own daughter knows anything about her past, no-one is even sure of her real name. The box with the photos and papers, which they find after her death, will provide the clues for Becca to “find the castle and the prince to reclaim our heritage”. It is significant that Becca tells the same story about Briar Rose to the new generation as she is the...
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