Nostalgia In Briar Rose

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With over seventeen million victims, the Holocaust, which occurred during World War Two, is known to be one of the world’s largest mass murders. The Holocaust has left the human race with a legacy. A legacy that impels one to understand and empathize with the tragedies that have occurred. Something so devastating can absolutely not be locked away in silence. While actions may speak louder than words, words still hold utmost power and have the ability to influence actions and feelings for generations to come. Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose follows a family attempting to uncover the history of the Holocaust and their experiences through it. Gemma, the grandmother to three girls, Shana, Sylvia, and Becca, tells her version of Sleeping Beauty called “Briar…show more content…
By consistently mentioning Gemma’s accounts of sharing her fairy tale story of Briar Rose and the intentional attention to detail, Yolen highlights the strong intimacy associated with traditional storytelling and its power to create powerful connections. As Gemma began telling her story in the beginning of the novel, “the sisters nodded and stepped back a pace each, as if the story demanded their grandmother’s face, not just her scent” (Yolen 21). The way Gemma tells her stories to her granddaughters implies that there is a very traditional, intimate story time setting. In this way, storytelling allows not only for emotional intimacy, but physical intimacy as well. The story “demanded their grandmother’s face” implies that Gemma is looking each girl in the eye and trying to speak to each and every one’s soul (Yolen 22). Traditional storytelling is far different than any other way of…show more content…
Becca is an avatar for young adult readership. Becca is hearing and following Gemma’s story for the first time along with the readers of Yolen’s Briar Rose. The readers are embarking on this journey with Becca and thus, can relate to a lot of the feelings and emotions that Becca has along the way. Since Becca is aware she is the only one of her family to care and have a connection to Gemma’s story, she takes it upon herself to find the hidden meaning of Briar Rose. On her deathbed, Gemma makes Becca promise that she will find the castle, the prince, and all the details of her story. Becca replies with “I said I promise...I swear, gemma… I swear. On...your grave Gemma” (Yolen 35). All of a sudden, Becca has a new, large responsibility to find out the details of Gemma’s story. Since the readers of Yolen’s novel do not know anything about Briar Rose as well, they also assume that it is their duty to assist Becca in finding more details about this fairy tale. The reason why storytelling has this effect on readers is that the stories being heard, have a direct correlation with the brain. Susan Bolander, a researcher from marketing research agency, Six Degrees, states “A compelling tale structured with a classic
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