The Shawl Analysis

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The theme of survival within Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl” presents itself through a shawl that represents life, survival, and death. Each character has their own unique relationship to the shawl; it is essential to their individual choices in trying to survive in the concentration camp. The author pulls details from the setting of the camp and the point of views of Rosa and Stella to further explain to why the shawl plays such an important part to the survival of the three characters and the choices they make.

The concentration camp setting shows the shawl becoming increasingly more important to the role of survival in each of the character’s lives. The harsh weather demands the shawl’s protection from the elements and inspires Stella’s jealousy
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“They were in a place without pity, all pity was annihilated in Rosa” (Ozick), and yet even as “Rosa knew Magda was going to die very soon” (Ozick), she used what she described as a magic shawl to prolong her hope for her daughter’s survival. The shawl is a safe space for Rosa to give her daughter, symbolizing how strong a mother’s love is; the shawl conceals Magda’s existence, nourishing the infant for “three days and three nights" (Ozick), and keeps Magda still and mute. The shawl is absolutely necessary to Magda’s survival, but an obstacle for Stella. Without the shawl, Stella is cold and left to fend for herself. Stella "wanted to be wrapped in a shawl, hidden away, asleep..." (Ozick). Stella is jealous of the protection Magda receives concealed in the shawl, and makes the choice to take it to help her survive with no remorse. The shawl even saves Rosa when she uses it to stifle the screams and control her impulse to run after Magda as she was killed, an action that would have surely resulted in her own…show more content…
The shawl may have caused Magda 's death, but helped prolong her life, even by just a few days. The shawl represents how much love a person could have for someone, or something, and try to use any resource to make sure it is preserved and protected. This story and its historical background are valuable to share because it doesn 't change throughout time. Most people know about the Holocaust and the terror many faced at that time. This story shows humanized characters and plays out their emotions and anguish. This gives an insight of just a few crisis the Jews had to
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