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Sleeping Beauty

            In Briar Rose, Jane Yolen uses the tale of “Sleeping Beauty” as a point of reference for a haunting Holocaust mystery – within a romance – within a compelling fairy tale – within a novel which will fascinate young as well as adult readers of all ages. Briar Rose is an unusual and poignant novel. It uses the fairy tale motif as both a thematic underpinning and as transitional material. But it is also said the book itself is a fairy tale in that it uses fairy tale logic and has a fairy tale at the core since no women actually escaped from Chelmno as recorded in Author’s note. The human brutality and cruelty exposed by Josef in his account of the Holocaust stands in dire contrast to the romantic fairytale of Briar Rose. .
             At all times, fairytales take romance as an important point of its structure. As follows, Jane Yolen presents Briar Rose as a fairytale by making it a romantic story with a happy ending, although it also has darker qualities. Romance is found in the relationship between Becca and Stan. Although their romance is not the main focus of the novel, Stan provides a romantic interest throughout the novel. His character is parallel with the Prince Charming in all traditional fairy stories. .
             Another romantic scene is found between Aron, Gemma, and Josef. The story of Gemma ended happily where Gemma marries her prince, and eventually escapes to the refuge of America where she has her baby. But Aron, Gemma’s love and Josef’s, is killed by the Nazis. Thus, it creates a limitation in the ‘happily ever after’ ending of every conventional fairy tales. .
             ‘Kisses’ are symbols found in all romance stories. In Briar Rose, ‘kisses’ draw parallel lines between the fairytale and the novel’s story. At the end of the Briar Rose, Stan kisses Becca at the airport. This kiss recalls the kiss of the prince that woke the sleeping beauty, and Josef’s mouth-to-mouth resuscitation of Gemma.