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Discuss and justify themes in "Briar Rose".I've chosen heroism, innocence and goodness....

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shen | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 31, 2008 at 1:39 AM via web

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Discuss and justify themes in "Briar Rose".

I've chosen heroism, innocence and goodness. Could anyone help me with this? im studying the novel briar rose by Jane Yolen.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2008 at 4:19 AM (Answer #2)

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In "Briar Rose," Rebecca Berlin distinguishes herself as heroic and genuinely sincere about finding out about her grandmother's past.  Even though her sisters don't understand why Becca is so consumed with this quest and promise she made to her dying grandmother.

The grandmother, Gemma is the representation of true innocence and goodness, even as she is in the last days of her life, she and Becca have a loving relationship.  Becca listens to her grandmother and believes the fairy tale about the prince and Briar Rose. When Gemma presses Becca with a request:

"Promise me you will find the castle. Promise me you will find the prince. Promise me you will find the maker of the spells." She adds the crucial guideline, "I am Briar Rose."

Becca is determined to find out the truth, she courageously goes to Poland to find answers. 

Becca believes in Gemma, even though her sisters scold her.

"As adults, the sisters Sylvia and Shana offer no support in Becca's quest. "A goddamned fairy tale princess, Becca. With a Yiddish accent. If she's not crazy believing it - you are."

What Becca discovers proves that Gemma was a hero for surviving the concentration camp, and that the fairy tale, that she told, had a basis in fact. 

Becca and Gemma are both heroes in this book, along with Josef.  Gemma's innocence and Becca's goodness in believing her grandmother allows the author to inform the reader about the horrors of the holocaust.

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