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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 224

In interviews, Cynthia Ozick has said that in principle, she is against making fiction out of the Holocaust, but felt compelled to write “The Shawl” and “Rosa.” What might be the dangers of using the Holocaust or other historical events as a basis for fiction? What positive results might come...

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In interviews, Cynthia Ozick has said that in principle, she is against making fiction out of the Holocaust, but felt compelled to write “The Shawl” and “Rosa.” What might be the dangers of using the Holocaust or other historical events as a basis for fiction? What positive results might come from this fiction? Write about the pros and cons of creating art from history.

The five stages of grief, as identified by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In which of these stages is Rosa living? Can you find signs of the other stages throughout the story? Does she progress or regress through the process as the story continues?

Rosa experiences “mental episodes,” as Persky would call them, throughout the story. What events trigger these episodes and why? How does her fragile mental condition affect her ability to cope with her loss? Do some research on post-traumatic shock syndrome and then write an essay in which you explain its relevance to Rosa’s mental state and those events that exacerbate it.

A recurring theme in Ozick’s work is idolatry, the worship of someone or something other than God. Rosa’s idol is Magda’s shawl. How did Hitler use idolatry to create the Holocaust? Can you find other examples of idols in society in the early 2000s?

 

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