Novel Structure

Novel Structure
The novel consists of two parts, structured in three sections. The first part of the novel consists if one section titled 'Home' and takes up the first twenty four chapters. Each of the odd numbered chapters tells, through Gemma's words and Rebecca's (more commonly known in the book as Becca) eyes, the story of Sleeping Beauty. Each of the even numbered chapters in this first section tells the story of Becca and her quest to find out the truth about the identity and past of her grandmother Gemma.

Several themes are developed in Briar Rose including love, identity, truth redemption and hope. While the Holocaust is central to the novel as a whole, the use of the Sleeping Beauty metaphor is also used to explore history and memory.

Love - is looked at in the novel in the following ways:
        o Family love, such as the love between Gemma and her family, is clearly established in the early chapters.
        o Romantic love is explored through the developing relationship of Stan and Becca and the relationship between Gemma and Aron.
Sexuality - in particular, homosexuality is explored through the characters of:
        o Merlin Brooks, Becca's creative writing teacher
        o Magda Bronski (for eg. on pages 128,129)
        o Josef Potocki
Identity - our quest for a sense of self, and a knowing and understanding of who we are and how we are, is explored through:
        o Becca's quest for her heritage and Gemma's past
        o Stan seeking his birth mother
        o Magda's decision to practise 'being jewish'
Redemption - is closely linked to the need people have to make sense of their lives and their place in 'history'. Some examples are:
        o Fort Oswego Museum
        o Father Stashu
        o the experiences of Josef
Hope - for a more positive future is expressed through the narratives of Josef and Gemma, when, in the final chapter, there is a 'happily...