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In Briar Rose, How Does Jane Yolen Use Multiple Voices to Highlight Her Themes and Purpose?

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In Briar Rose, how does Jane Yolen use multiple voices to highlight her themes and purpose?

Jane Yolen's novel Briar Rose is both unique and engaging because of her creation of multiple voices to explore the events and significant ideas of the Holocaust. Yolen critically examines the significance and power of fairytales, heroism,the atrocities of war and dualities through the varying literary techniques.

Yolen presents the significance and power of fairytales through multiple voices and a dynamic use of techniques. One such technique is the use of an allegorical narrative. The inclusion of the fairytale 'Sleeping Beauty' is essential as it acts as an extended metaphor for Gemma to reveal her identity and past. The italic font of these odd numbered chapters visually differentiate them from the other story present in the even numbered chapters. This engaging device, intertextuality, is used to deliver Gemma's story whilst presenting moral messages to the audience. Jane Yolen has also used epigraphs at the beginning of each section, Home, Castle and Home Again. These present an authorial voice to the narrative. Yolen's intention is to educate contemporary society of the atrocities of the Holocaust and to reinvigorate the readers interest in this event.

Similarly, the didactic nature of this plot is derived from the use of a fairytale. Yolen states that "storytellers are the memory of a civilization." The didactic nature of the plot aims to present the audience with a link between past and present whilst allowing the responder a comprehensive understanding of fairytales in evaluating the human nature. Yolen also uses the fairytale as a means of presenting a distinction between a materialistic and alienated society and a world of empathy and concern. Yolen parallels the dysfunctional and self-centered behavior of Sharna and Syvlia with the considerate and humble nature of Becca. Becca's voice is timid and submissive and by implication challenges the materialistic nature of her sisters. The consumerist nature of the sisters is evident at the nursing home when Sylvia asserts "If she's not crazy believing it - you are. Grow up, Becca. Sharna and I have." Yolen is alluding to the ugly sisters from the original fairytale. The significance and power of fairytales are explored through multiple voices in the text which serve to enrich our understanding of the Holocaust.

The voices of the characters are essential in presenting the theme of heroism throughout the text. The discovery of Gemma's box instigate, the initially naive, Becca's journey to discover the truth about her grandmothers past. "I'm going to solve it...The riddle and the mystery and the enigma." A motif of journey and quest is evident throughout the novel. An unconventional chronotrope is utilized to allow the narrative to constantly shift in time. This allows the duality of past and present to capture the binary nature of both Becca's and the Partisans journey. The use of this chronotrope focuses the delivery of these voices to the reader. These perspectives are essential to presenting the strength of the human spirit to survive the most horrendous crimes against humanity. The manipulation of archetypal symbology for the characters is fundamental in delivering the voices of these

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