How Is Briar Rose Made Memorable Through the Interactions of Ideas and the Way These Ideas Are Represented?

Topics: Fiction, Jane Yolen, Character Pages: 6 (2072 words) Published: October 15, 2011
A novel's essential purpose is generally to entertain as it is through entertainment that a novel is made memorable. The main factor that contributes to achieve a memorable novel is the ability the author has in exemplifying certain ideas as well as the way in which these ideas are embedded throughout the story line. Jane Yolen's Briar Rose is made memorable through its complex yet tightly fabricated narrative structure, the unique language of the narrative in the way Yolen relies heavily on irony, the use of effective characterisation, which Yolen manipulates to enhance the plot and develop the novel as a whole. Yolen combines all these techniques to assist in portraying the ideas of fairytale, past effecting present and future as well as human brutality, survival of the human race, good vs evil and the significance of storytelling, thus making the novel memorable.

The most significant factor that contributes to the level of entrainment thus the novels memorability is the thematic ideas as Briar Rose is a novel defined by its ability to convey thematic ideas as protagonist Rebecca Berlin takes on a quest to unravel the mystery of her grandmother's past. Rebecca is determined to increase her knowledge and understanding as much as is possible, of the truth of her grandmother's mysterious early life. The quest takes her from America to Poland therefore from the present to the past.

Yolen interweaves at least three major strands into her plot, and uses the viewpoints of different characters to add an interesting variety to the narrative. Another striking factor embedded within the novel which contributes to the memorability of the novel is its fascinating language. A fairytale should be happy however, Yolen uses it as an allegory for the Holocaust. According to tradition, a fairytale by nature is didactic or moralistic; 'Briar Rise' does so on both an internal and external level. It teaches children that good will triumph over evil. There is much use of the traditional and original fairytale terms throughout the novel for example “Once upon a time which is all times and no time but not the very best of times, there was a castle” through this the reader is able to remember the original fairytales told to them in their childhood and therefore can relate to Becca and her sisters (Sylvia and Shana)when they eagerly listen to their grandmother in chapter 2. 'tell us seepin boot'. Jane Yolen also utilises certain techniques which make the novel more engaging thus fulfilling its purpose. Briar Rose is a narrative by definition, however' throughout the novel one may see another story interpretation other than the one being explicitly told. “I mean it's not that I believe it. It's just like the story is like a metaphor”

Briar Rose is an allegory for the Holocaust experience i.e. Gemma's story acts as an effective vehicle for the telling of the entire narrative strand (real life). The harsh details of her survival are hidden in the magical fairytale, which softens the impact of reality for the reader. This for instance is seen through the segmentation of the novel into 3 parts 'home', 'castle' and 'home again' where the audience feels safe and warm in the 'home' which speaks of family love e.t.c and then are shocked by the raw actuality seen in 'castle'

Fairytales are renowned for their capability to enchant their audience. The use of allegory brings a remarkable element to the novel, similarly, Jane incorporates irony in order to highlight a contradiction. For instance the 'prince' whom Gemma speaks of is in fact Josef Pitocki who is indeed inherent of the prince-like characteristics when the reader is presented with the fact that Josef is actually a homosexual, as seen in chapter 26 when Josef is stamped with a 'pink triangle' and revealed a homosexual. This eliminates the stereotypical fairytale where the prince and the princess fall in love as this will never be the case with Gemma and Josef. The audience is somewhat...
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