The Shawl

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Many times in stories, authors will use the setting to set the stage for the story. The setting is like the foundation of the story, and without one the story seems merely lost. Quite often the setting will build up the story and affect the characters, and the characters behaviors. Against the backdrop of a Holocaust concentration camp, Ozick produces two static characters whose lack of development throughout the story emphasizes the theme of overwhelming hopelessness.

In The Shawl Rosa, her infant daughter Magda, and her fourteen year old companion Stella are Jews interned in a concentration camp during World War II. Amazingly the infant Magda has survived with her mother, hidden and protected in a shawl. If the Nazis ever learn of her existence she is certain to be killed. The Setting of this story sets the reader up for a sad story. Just by knowing the story takes place in a concentration camp, the reader immediately feels sorrow for these three characters. The story starts off with the 3 characters walking down a dirt path. The story is written in 3rd person limited, so you can only get into the characters thoughts at certain times. You can tell by Rosa's thoughts of leaving Magda on the street for someone to find, that she is very disgruntled and not thinking very clearly. The story tells about Magda's attachment to the shawl, and how it eases her and gives her peace. Throughout the walk down the road, you see that both Rosa and Stella are both envious of Magda's relationship with the shawl, and both of them at times ponder about taking the shawl for themselves. Throughout the walk the two older women get paranoid in a sense and both are jealous of Magda. They see how peaceful Magda is with the shawl, and it is killing both of them inside. During the whole story, these thoughts and emotions are going through both Rosa and Stella's mind. Later in the story, Stella steals the shawl away from Magda. Magda now starts to behave peculiar like...
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