Jane Yolen conveys the idea about personal discovery by taking the reader on journey with the characters. This journey helps the characters find out who they are and where they belong. It is not easy trying to understand oneself. Throughout the novel the readers see the characters form strong relationships with one another, and stick together through the hard and good times. This helps the characters find out who they really are.
Every character has their own dark past which they to keep hidden. But in the novel Yolen shows the readers it is always better to come out of the wardrobe then to stay hidden and not be found. Becca’s editor Stan says, “I don’t think you’re going to be happy until you find out who your grandmother was, Becca”. Since Becca was little her grandmother, Gemma, told her stories about Briar Rose. Becca was always interested in these stories. Stan believes that Becca will not be able to know her own identity until she discovers the truth about Gemma’s astonishing claim “I am Briar Rose”.
Nobody understands why it is so important to Becca to find the truth about Gemma’s identity. Not even her sisters who tell her “It’s a goddamned fairy tale princess, Becca”. However, for Becca the knowledge of oneself comes from discovering the truth about past family history, and also a personal promise. Gemma made Becca promise to find the truth. Becca announced, “I’m going to find the castle and the prince and reclaim our heritage…I promised Gemma”. Only by discovering and revealing Gemma’s true identity can Becca begin to discover her own.
It is typical of every fairy tale that there is a prince. In Briar Rose the prince is the man who saves Gemma, Josef. He suffers his own tragedy as he is sent to a concentration camp during the Holocaust. This is not only physical tragedy, but Josef also suffers from a loss of identity. Josef is a homosexual man; he is not a...