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Briar Rose English Essay

597 words - 3 pages

The holocaust was a horrific time for one to go through and caused large scale damage to the Jewish population as a whole. The story of Briar Rose, by Jane Yolen tells a story about the Holocaust which is intertwined with the fairytale 'Sleeping Beauty'. One of the main characters, Gemma uses this well known fairytale to hide the horrors that she experienced during the Holocaust, as she is unable to tell her family the full extent of what had happened all those years ago. The text also explores the idea that our personal stories are what shapes us into who we are and who we are going to become.

IMPORTANCE OF FAIRYTALES
Yolen uses the existing fairytale 'Sleeping Beauty' to tell the truth about Gemma's brutal past whilst she was caught up in the horrific acts during the Holocaust. ...view middle of the document...

In her version of the fairytale, Gemma explains that there was a "mist" that fell around the castle which caused everyone to "sleep for a hundred years". Later in the novel we discover that the mist represented the gas used to suffocate the Holocaust victims. Gemma hides her experiences of the Holocaust in the story of 'Sleeping Beauty' and as Becca correctly states, it is a metaphor of her life.

IMPORTANCE OF STORIES
In the extract Stan says "Stories... We are made up of stories. And even the ones that seem most like lies can be our deepest hidden truths." This quote highlights the idea that our stories are what makes us who we are and they are very important to us. Becca finds herself unable to stop thinking about her grandmothers secretive past. She feels that she owes it to Gemma to find the truth within her story. Becca feels that if she doesn't find out who her Grandmother was, she will loose a part of her and the rest of her family's identity. In the novel Stan explains to Becca that he found it hard to move on with his life and be happy before he found his birth mother. "I don't think you're going to be happy until you find out who your Grandmother was, Becca. Just as i couldn't be happy until I found my birth mother." Because Stan understands Becca's situation he rages her to continue her search into her grandmothers past and gives her the support that she is lacking from her family. "What's past is prologue." Stan says this when he is talking to Becca, he is explains that to understand the present, you must first understand the past. this quote also explains that what happens in our past helps shape us into who we are and who we are going to become.

In conclusion the novel, Briar Rose is seen as an allegory for the Holocaust and Gemma's life. This book explores key ideas that explains how our stories help us become who we are.

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