What are the settings of "The Shawl"?

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"The Shawl" is set in Europe during the Holocaust. We see a mother, Rosa, and her two girls, Stella and Magda, on a death march and then in a concentration camp. The story has the atmosphere of a dream: a nightmare in which bare details occur within...

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"The Shawl" is set in Europe during the Holocaust. We see a mother, Rosa, and her two girls, Stella and Magda, on a death march and then in a concentration camp. The story has the atmosphere of a dream: a nightmare in which bare details occur within a shapeless context.

We are not given the specifics of the setting (unlike other Holocaust stories, such as Elie Wiesel's Night). Though the setting is obviously eastern Europe, neither the country nor the camp are named. The characters' names can place them as being from any central or eastern European nation.

White a generalized setting is not unusual in such a brief narrative, in this story it serves to enhance the universality of the images and ideas presented: persecution, exile, and starvation. Though the setting is specifically the Holocaust, the events could be transposed to another place and time in which genocide and mass murder have occurred.

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There are two settings in the World War II short story "The Shawl": the road that the Jewish prisoners are marching down and the roll-call arena.

The writer doesn't describe the road setting, but that is probably because the Stella, one of the main characters, is consumed with her own hunger and the welfare of Magda--the squirrel-sized baby wrapped in a shawl. On the march, they pass villages and Rosa, Sella and Magda's mother, says that, given the chance, she would hand Magda to one of the villagers that occasionally stand at the side of the road to watch. The only thing stopping her is the soldiers who she knows will shoot her if she leaves the line.

The author doesn't describe the roll-call arena, but she does describe the surrounding area in words that suggest that the prisoners see it as another reality:

The sunheat murmured of another life, of butterflies in summer. The light was placid, mellow. On the other side of the steel fence, far away, there were green meadows speckled with dandelions and deep-colored violets; beyond them, even farther, innocent tiger lilies, tall, lifting their orange bonnets.

Rosa says, when the prisoners talk about flowers and rain in the dark barracks, they are talking about the excrement that drips from the bunks.

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“The Shawl” is a short story that takes place in winter during World War II. As the story begins, the three characters are on a wintry road marching to a concentration camp. Rosa, her infant daughter (Magda), and her niece (Stella) are being forced on this "death march," which was common under the Nazi regime. This road that they are marching on is the first setting of the story. The second setting is the concentration camp, as the story tells about their experiences there. The author is careful about not providing too many details for the setting of the story. This was done on purpose: since prisoners of any concentration camp experienced similar horrors, it really didn’t matter which one Rosa, Magda, and Stella were imprisoned at.

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As the story opens, the main characters, Rosa, her infant daughter Magda, and her niece Stella, are on a forced marched to a Nazi concentration camp. It was common for the Nazis to move their prisoners from one camp to another on what came to be called death marches; if any died along the way, so much the better. Elie Wiesel describes in his book Night how he and his father had to walk from Buchenwald to Buna in the snow.

Once they arrive at the new camp, it becomes the primary setting for the horrors the story depicts. Ozick doesn't give us the name of either camp.

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The two settings of "The Shawl" are closely related. One is the concentration camp; the other is on the road, walking to the concentration camp.

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