The Face in the Cloth

by Jane Yolen

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 253

1. Needles and scissors,/Scissors and pins,/ Where one life ends, /Another begins. This verse appears often in the narrative of "The Face in the Cloth." What does it represent in the story? What are the various ways in which it is worked out in the action and the characters?

2. Fairy tales often are intended to portray a truth about human nature. What do psychologists say about the mother/daughter relationship symbolized in "The Face in the Cloth"? How do daughters typically respond to carrying the burden of their mothers?

3. Sewing is a motif used throughout "The Face in the Cloth." What are the ways in which it is used? What are sewn together? How does the sewing motif help unify the narrative?

4. What figures in Ancient Greek mythology sew images into cloth? How many are there of them? What happens when they sew? Does the sewing in "The Face in the Cloth" have similar effects?

5. What message does Yolen have for daughters in "The Face in the Cloth"? How does she build this message through images and action?

6. Is it easy for a daughter to free herself from her mother's image? Is it desirable? What are the consequences of doing so?

7. Yolen has published a book containing several stories of witches titled Here There Be Witches. What are the different kinds of witches she includes? How are they distinct from one another? What characteristics do they share that make each a witch? Does Yolen have a consistent vision of what a witch is?

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