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After her daughter Magda died, Rosa remained motivated to live by the memory of her daughter.
Rosa did not scream when her daughter was thrown into the air and murdered by the Nazis. She knew that if she moved or made a sound they would shoot her. She had struggled so long to stay alive, and keep Magda alive. She could not stop now.
[So] she took Magda's shawl and filled her own mouth with it, stuffed it in and stuffed it in, until she was swallowing up the wolf's screech and tasting the cinnamon and almond depth of Magda's saliva; and Rosa drank Magda's shawl until it dried.
By sucking in all that is left of Magda, Rose isolates herself from the reality around her and therefore does not need to face it. She functions on a primal level. As much as she wants to save her daughter, it is futile. Her daughter is lost. Getting herself killed will not solve anything. It will kill her memories of Magda.
Drowning herself in the shawl is the best Rose can do. It allows her to deal with the grief my blocking it out, surrounding herself with her dead daughter’s memory.
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