Rosa in "the Shawl" :fire:
Rosa in "the Shawl"
Thesis: Rosa's actions and behavior give much insight into the inner workings of her character.
Not complaining about her surroundings, merely sinking into a floating "peacefulness" and learning from Magda how to ignore her hunger
Taking care of Magda despite the fact it was most likely a result of being raped by a Nazi, and knowing full well she would die in the end.
Giving almost all her food to Magda, and not getting angry at Stella for not giving any of her food up, nor for looking at Magda as if she wanted to eat the child.
Thesis: "While Rosa is not described in direct detail, her actions, surroundings and descriptions reveal her character."
descriptions (the way SHE describes)
Thesis: Rosa's surroundings shed light on how a place can affect a person, and how Rosa must be feeling at each point during the horrific tale.
Right before Magda is thrown into the electric fence, Ozick describes a meadow, with flowers and rain, and how Magda looked while she was sitting in the sunlight. This symbolizes a hope and promise of a different life for Rosa, and she longs for it, although she is hardened by the continuous torture.
A very important aspect of the setting is the way the concentration camp and the barracks (living quarters) are described. The "call arena" seems to be stated and described in more of a factual sense, which suggests a numbness from the constant fear. The barracks are littered with descriptions like "the slow maroon waterfall sinking through from the upper bunks" or the "fatty smell of smoke" (describing the smell of the burned corpses in the camp). All of these descriptions shed light on how they might affect a person after a period of time, which gives almost unstated descriptions into Rosa's thoughts and actions.
The beginning of the story describes, cold, hellish temperatures and freezing winds, which gives a nice juxtaposition to the description of how Rosa feels "light" and "floating". This describes how she's seemed to have lost hope and regressed into her imaginary peace.
Thesis: The fashion in which Rosa describes her surroundings gives indirect description into her perspective and thought patters, which is a very creative and interesting way of developing her character.
When Rosa is first describing Magda, she tells of her blue eyes and scarce blonde hair, and says "she almost looked like she could be one of
. This is the only line that suggests that she'd been raped by a Nazi, and despite this fact, Rosa wishes she could step out of line and push the baby into a German mother's arms to protect her. This shows her compassion and motherly instincts, despite only being 15 years old.
When Rosa tells about how she sees Magda run into the middle arena, she says how she knows Magda is going to die, but she feels "fearful joy" running into her palms at the sound of the baby's howls. Rosa had been certain that Magda was mute, but her screams make Rosa proud that she has fight left in her. The way she describes Magda flying through the air before she dies almost hints at a relief that she may be somewhere more peaceful.
Finally, When they are marching through the streets and various towns, Rosa describes her shawl as "Magic" because it had sustained Magda for three days and nights. I think this shows her faith and thankfulness that somehow a miracle would end up happening for the three girls. The shawl ended up being a symbol of strength and resilience, which is mirrored in Rosa.
In conclusion, while Rosa is not directly described in the story more than briefly, the various pieces of the story come together to give her character shape and dimension. Her surroundings, perspective and actions shed light on the strength and compassion that she continuously shows throughout the story.