The Story of Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

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The story of “Briar Rose” by Jane Yolen is a heartrending story about the Holocaust intertwined with a fairytale. Yolen draws the audience into the world of the novel “Briar Rose” though the use of intertextuality, storytelling and an interwoven narrative structure. These distinctive textual qualities engages the readers to experience Becca the protagonist’s journey to self-discovery. Yolen uses these techniques to engage readers completely as she delves into how there may be obstacles when taking this journey as well as realizing how the past and the fairytale are inextricably linked.

Yolen utilizes intertextuality extensively throughout the novel to further relate the story to the reader in a more sophisticated way. The main example of intertextuality in the novel is Yolen’s adaption of the fairytale “sleeping beauty” to Gemma’s Holocause experience. Yolen uses intertexuality to describe gemma’s unkown past, “A riddle wrapped in an enigma”, this is a direct quote from to Winston Churchhill encapsulating the mystry surrounding Gemma. As Becca embarks on her quest, she faces numerous obstacles hwoever through determination to overcome these obstacle, “whats past is prologue,” is a quote from the Shakespearean play “the tempest” underlining the indispensable significance for Becca to find out about Gemma’s past inorder to start hers.

Yolen alerts readers to themes, motifs and plots by creating significant symbolisms in the novel. The symbolism engages readers in a visual way through the use of repetitive motifs. It is significant that the princess in Gemma's story has red hair, for so do Gemma and Becca. The roses symbolize love, Family love, such as the love between Gemma and her family, is clearly established in the early chapters. Romantic love is explored through the developing relationship of Stan and Becca and the relationship between Gemma and Aron. The mist in Gemma's version of the fairy tale stands, in the first place, for the exhaust gas used to...
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