Yolen has included all the elements of traditional fairytale in her novel, Briar Rose. She used the character, Gemma, to explore the main concepts of the novel, beauty and the brutality in humanity. First, Yolen, through the use of symbolism, hints the readers that Gemma is the Briar Rose in the fairytale. The quote “Baby girl with a crown of red hair” and Gemma’s touching of her hair while saying this statement allows the readers to think that Gemma could be the baby girl in the fairytale. Also “A great mist will cover the castle and everyone will die” symbolises the holocaust that Gemma and the other partisans have faced in Chelmno. “Mist” symbolises the exhaust gas that the Nazis used when prosecuting the innocent victims of the holocaust. The curse shows the brutality of human as it represents the Nazi’s prosecution in Yolen’s novel.
Yolen has also included “kiss of life” which is also an important element in all fairytales. She used “the kiss of life” to emphasise the beauty in humanity. As the novel develops, Josef kisses Gemma to give her breath so she could live. It requires love and encourages kissing the lip with a taste of vomit and Josef showed his love and courage by giving Gemma a kiss of life. Through this, Yolen emphasises that people can be good.
Yolen has used the technique, story within a story, to juxtapose the fairytale with the reality. She uses 3 narratives, Gemma’s, Becca’s and Josef’s, to show readers what it is like in the fairytale and how ugly the reality is. Gemma’s narrative is represented mostly in the form of a fairytale. Yolen uses an allegory in Gemma’s narrative and the