Briar Rose Analysis

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The novel Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is a heart wrenching story of Sleeping Beauty intertwined with the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust. Yolen portrays the difference between the fairytale and the ugly reality through this novel. The character, Gemma, tells a fairytale called Briar Rose to her three granddaughters every time she is with them. Gemma’s identity at the start of the novel is hidden, and Becca, Gemma's granddaughter, is on a journey to unveil and discover the truth about her identity and Briar Rose. The truth ends up being that Gemma is the Briar Rose she speaks about in her stories. During this journe, Becca discovers not only her grandmother’s identity but also her own. Becca grows up and realizes that her grandmother chose her to find the truth because she and Becca are so much alike. Through structure, techniques, and themes, Briar Rose has proven to be a good book.
The structure of the novel makes Briar Rose a good book. The multiple layers of narrative help to communicate the story that is happening in the novel. First, Gemma tells the tale of Briar Rose which is actually a metaphor for Gemma's life. The fairy tale references seem to deepen the story of Gemma’s Holocaust sufferings and relate them to the whole cultural tradition of good and evil, suffering and rescue, and seeking and eventually finding. Next, Becca sets out on a quest to find out about Gemma's past. She feels as though there is more to the story than just "Sleeping Beauty." Even though she hits many dead ends and gets little information, she is still determined to fine the truth behind Briar Rose. Finally, Becca discovers Josef Potiocki, who tells Becca and Magda about his experience of the Holocaust. He gives all the answers that Magda, Becca,...

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... of identity. The theme identity plays a large role in the novel when it comes to discovering Gemma’s past. This reminds the readers that identity is important because it is about knowing who a person's own self is and giving a sense of where they come from. There are many themes in this story, but the main theme is for a person to never give up in what they do and to always have a true sense of self.
In conclusion, Briar Rose teaches a person that memories are important not only to their own self but to others as well. Through the structure, techniques, and themes, Jane Yolen told this story in a unique yet clear way. . The brilliance of Yolen really comes through in this novel as she puts the fairytale and Holocaust together. Briar Rose is a good book that will lead readers to unspeakable brutality and horror, yet it will also bring them to redemption and hope.
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