Briar Rose by Jane Yolan Study Questions

Briar Rose

  1. Discuss how the story follows and deviates from the classic fairy tale. Use at least three examples.
  2. "I was the princess in the castle in the sleeping woods" (19). Consider what the "curse" is in this version. How is Gemma like the princess. Use some specific examples.
  3. The box. Pandora’s? How do the mysterious contents peek our interest in the history behind each piece? Discuss how narrative and family history plays a major role here. There are always double or triple "palismpsest-type" of stories going on. Give an example. Isn’t a map-reader a story-teller? Define what history is.
  4. What is in a name? What is our identity? Our past? Is our future determined by our past, by our relatives’ past? How important are our roots?
  5. Why is the "promise" so important? Is it another type of "obsessive-compulsive" behavior?
  6. "A hundred years, a thousand years, "Gemma said. It doesn’t matter. Dead is dead" (62).
  7. Time does not excuse conscience," Havey said shortly. "Time does not erase this" (72). "Because . . ." he whispered, "what’s past is prologue" (91).
  8. "But she was fearless nonetheless, and cheerful, having no past to haunt her" (180).
  9. "Your own American writer Emerson said, ‘The hero is not fed on sweets but daily his own heart he eats’" (194).
  10. "Truth is never tidy. Only fairy tales" (196).