The theme survival is an important aspect in the novel “Briar Rose” by Jane Yolen. The aspect of survival is developed through the narrative structure, which Jane Yolen utilizes various voices in the narrative story to deliver the main idea of survival which links with the cruel reality of the holocaust. Yolen has developed the theme of survival through a different range of voices to her main narrators by the use of symbolism, intertextuality and allegory in the narrative structure. This empowers her to get quite distinct explanations of the holocaust and the impact that it has on the main characters.
Survival is symbolised by the rose, love, children and the fairy tale. The novel “Briar Rose” is a love story and it’s the power of love that surpasses the terrifying fear of the holocaust and healing. Aron’s love for Gemma allows her to heal herself, Josef’s love for Aron which made him help Gemma and the baby into surviving the war and moving into another country. Becca’s love for Gemma has caused Becca into promising to search for the castle from Gemma’s fairy tale. This shows that through love, the characters in the novel were able to recover from the horrific past.
The rose also symbolises survival which is an anomaly. It is a beautiful flower and yet accompanied by thorns. Thorns form a protective nest in which the flower can bloom. Like Gemma’s flowers which been recalled to life corresponding a bud opening its petals to the sun. In Gemma's version of the fairy tale, the mist stands for the gas that was used to kill the holocaust victims at Chelmno. While the briars represents the walls, fences and tress that the prisoners were bounded by while the sleeping people in the castle is the people who died from the gas. These symbols are used as metaphors for Gemma’s bad experience at Chelmno where she was held as a prisoner and was battling to survive the terrifying horror of the war.
Yolen uses intertextuality as Josef Potocki speaks in...