I want you to think about the diction that Yolen chooses to use in this novel, and I want you to focus on the various writing styles employed by Yolen.
Sparse and heroic language is used by Josef Potocki in the section titled, "Castle." He speaks as the well-educated, cosmopolitan observer. He recognizes the importance of story, of the creation of legends as a spur to the actions of the partisans:
"A voice inside of him said, 'We rescue one, they kill one thousand. Still--one is enough.' . . . And he understood why Henrik and his followers cared more about making a powerful story than life itself" (216-217).
Repetition and echoing of key motifs reinforce the message of the novel. The one/one thousand contrast recalls the death toll of Chelmno camp--one day, one thousand dead (ein tag--ein tausend).
Contrast between the formal, traditional language of the fairy tale and the childish, informal chatter is shown when the children comment, question, or bicker as Gemma proceeds with her storytelling.
Explain the contribution these variations in diction and style make to the atmosphere (mood) and message of the novel.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Would you call this novel a mystery? How is this story like a mystery novel? Even though Becca's family dismiss Gemma's fairy tale story as merely the ramblings of an old woman, Becca feels compelled to break through the mystery of Gemma's past. What are her clues? And what about this element of mystery? Does Becca's journey of discovery add tension to the book? Does Becca's exploration of her grandmother's past bring more understanding of herself and her family? Why do you think her parents never tried to learn more about Gemma's history? Why are people willing to leave this kind of mystery alone?