the shawl criticism

Closely linked to the theme of survival are issues of motherhood and nurturing.

Critical Overview. The first and most obvious thing to consider upon finishing “The Shawl” is the shawl itself. .

over whether or not she should pass Magda to an onlooker, possibly ensuring her child’s survival. Now the shawl’s role of saving people returns: Rosa fills her mouth with the shawl, stifling, “The shawl can be seen as an object used to show us how strong the human will to survive is.”. The narrator allows us to see Magda crazed by lice, calmed by the shawl’s linen milk, furious when she finally loses her little pet. We know so little of her—only through Rosa’s perceptions. Rosa constantly fears that Stella—or someone else—will kill Magda to eat her. Like a cornered wild animal, she devours her young in the form of the shawl. HISTORICAL CONTEXT

The shawl is important because it represents the constant link between mother and daughter. In only two thousand words, Ozick manages to evoke the horror of the Holocaust for her readers.

Finally, in one long scene that takes up nearly half the story, we watch as Magda dies. Sources Plot Summary Fears, the Feminine, and Fantasy in the NARRATIVE “The Shawl”, "The Shawl Her cries then, as she walks out of the barracks during roll call, cause her to be discovered and killed. Critic Suzanne Klingenstein, writing in the Fall, 1992, issue of Studies in American Jewish Literature, says that “the shawl functions in place of speech for both infant and mother and also as a kind of umbilical cord between the two characters. Searching for the shawl, Magda toddles into the square outside the barracks, screaming “Maaaa—.” Rosa cannot run to Magda or they will both be killed. GRACE PALEY She watched like a tiger. "The Shawl" is about the Holocaust, the systematic slaughter of some six million Jews, as well as at least that many gypsies, homosexuals, and other "undesirables" by the Nazis during World War II. Rosa stuffs the shawl into her mouth to keep herself from screaming when Magda is killed. She does the same, though to a somewhat lesser extent, with Stella and Magda. Do you think that first-person narration might have worked better? Historical Context. Alongside Stella’s jealousy, Rosa’s heart is established in the opening of the story. As this occurs, Rosa runs to the barracks and retrieves the shawl. In this environment, simply being human can condemn you to death, so you must suppress your humanity. “The Shawl,” in Library Journal, Vol. She was seventeen in 1945, the year the This study guide contains the following sections: This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on Gordon also believes that the shawl is a “transitional object,” an object that helps an infant make the transition from the state of being one with its mother to the recognition that it is an individual, separate from its mother. She runs for the shawl and returns to the square with it, but she is too late. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. Cohen, Sarah Blacher. E. L. Doctorow CRITICAL OVERVIEW Ozick contributes to the “About Books” column in the New York Times Book Review, and writes articles, reviews, stories, poems, and translations from Yiddish for such periodicals as Commentary, the New Republic, Partisan Review, the New Leader, Ms., Esquire, the New Yorker, American Poetry Review, and Harper’s. © 2019 | All rights reserved. The cold went into her heart: Rosa saw that Stella’s heart was cold.” The repetition of the words “cold” and “always” helps to ensure that the reader notices the coldness. Ozick has also written two nonfiction books: Art and Ardor, published in 1987, and Metaphor and Memory, published in 1989. She has become lighter than air, a “floating angel.

Death is omnipresent in “The Shawl.” Death is introduced in the opening paragraph, when the narrator explains that Rosa’s breasts do not have enough milk to feed the baby Magda—who sometimes screams because there is nothing for her to suck except air—that Stella is also ravenous, and that Stella has knees that are “tumors on sticks” and elbows that are “chicken bones.” Later, twice in quick succession it is stated that Rosa thinks Stella is waiting for Magda to die. to its mother’s coat. Because the baby does not have the same dark outlook on the future, Magda is able to be satisfied by “the shawl’s good flavor, milk of linen” (1) when Rosa no longer produces real milk. You can look at the plot: the events that happen and the order in which they occur. Introduction With Magda’s first word, “Maaaa—,” Ozick switches from an exposition to a detailed scene. Ozick takes the reader into the minds of fictional characters, but these fictional characters walk in shoes we can easily imagine to have been inhabited by Jews living in Europe during Nazi rule. At this point, it is appropriate to ask whether this shawl is truly a transitional object for Magda or instead an infantile fetish. “The Shawl” is particularly admired for its compactness. Why or why not? FURTHE…, Beloved Stella’s resentment ultimately lead to Magda’s death when Stella steals the shawl from the baby. The keynotes of oral deprivation, inadequate mothering, and the desire to revert to infancy are established in this opening: Rosa is defined as a mother with sore breasts who can no longer adequately feed her infant. A collection of Ozick’s essays about literature and writing. Implicit in Stella’s name is the idea of reflection. 114, August, 1989, p. 165. In the camp, “a place without pity,” they cannot know what might happen to them if Magda is discovered in the barracks. The story touches on many themes, including survival, motherhood, nurture, prejudice, and betrayal. 116, December 15, 1989, pp. .

SOURCES ." She cannot scream or do anything else that would indicate that Magda was her child. A “walking cradle,” she lives only for the survival of her young. When Stella steals the shawl, however, Magda says what will be the only word she ever speaks: “Maaaa—.” The characters’ silence may represent the silence they had to maintain during the march and in the camp in order to protect their lives. The only parts of her body described for us are her breasts and her thighs. The fetish “grows out of early inadequate object relations and, through its crystallization, tends to constrict their further development.” It has some similarities to “the fetish in adult perversion.” Considering the trauma that Magda has suffered—a To Magda? The role of the shawl when we examine its relationship to hell is to comfort, and perhaps to make this hell a little less wretched. Author Biography Stella wanted to be wrapped in a shawl, hidden away, asleep, rocked by the march, a baby, a round infant in arms.

As Rosa stuffs the shawl into her mouth, drinking the “cinnamon and almond depth of Magda’s saliva,” the cannibalism motif is revealed not to be the desperate act of a degraded and debased fourteen-year-old, but a symbolic final frantic attempt by Rosa to protect her offspring. Stella is Rosa’s fourteen-year-old niece. Jealous Stella. The wolf’s screech ascending through her body and the instinctive reaction of a mother to the death of her young oppose the will to survive as she stifles her scream with the magic shawl. The narrator recounts Rosa’s trek into the barracks to find the shawl and back out to discover she is too late. Her milk is gone; her body is going; she is reduced, a “walking cradle,” to instinct alone. The Godfrey Shawl National / Year 7 & 8 / Visual Arts - Art criticism and aesthetics - Search Again Video clip synopsis – Among the Natioinal Gallery of Australia's rarely seen treasures is an astonishing embroidered shawl from Kashmir in India--one off the finest and rarest of its kind.

Magda An important characteristic of this style is how much information Ozick trusts the reader to fill in for him or herself. The Shawl.

Magda, having lost her comforter, wanders into the barracks square screaming. Criticism Cynthia Ozick was born on April 17, 1928, in New York City.

If she does nothing, Magda will be killed. Rosa knew Magda was going to die very soon; she would have been dead already, but she had been buried way deep inside the magic shawl, mistaken there for the shivering mound of Rosa’s breasts; Rosa clung to the shawl as if it covered only herself. term “Aryan” to designate members of what they believed to be a “master race” of non-Jewish white people, particularly those with Nordic features. The other occupants are aware of Magda’s existence and of Rosa’s deception. She covers herself with it—perhaps gaining some tiny measure of warmth along with the security of being covered by the magic shawl—and falls asleep. Rosa watches her baby fly through the air, hit the fence and die, then fall to the ground. In Cynthia Ozick’s “The Shawl,” the images and language the author uses bring certain ideas to mind. Readers are occasionally told what a character thinks or feels, but these sketchy details do not comprise full-fledged scenes. The shawl also represents comfort to Stella, though it is not comforting to her at this moment.

It seems odd, does it not, that the story of Rosa and Magda should begin with a paragraph devoted mainly to Stella? Stella speaks twice: once when she calls Magda an “Aryan,” and again when she says“I was cold” to explain why she took Magda’s shawl. Historical Context He states that Rosa, Stella, and Magda, “in their need to possess the shawl can be considered as infants suffering extreme oral deprivation and in need of a mother.” Gordon reads “The Shawl” as “a story about delusion as a defense against an overwhelming reality, against loss of control, and against traumatic loss.” Ozick herself claims that she had none of these “pop psychology” ideas in mind when writing “The Shawl.”. For instance, the narrator tells readers that “Stella wanted to be wrapped in a shawl,” and that “Rosa did not feel hunger”—things which could only be known by that character. . If she had screamed, she too would have been killed. Though it plays a lesser role in “Rosa,” the shawl as a symbol is, perhaps, the most-discussed aspect of “The Shawl.”. Brief and poetically compressed—two thousand words, just two pages in its original publication in The New Yorker—it has a shattering impact. Critical Overview In the following excerpt, she discusses the theme of motherhood in “The Shawl” and examines how characterization and imagery contribute to the development of this theme. As she is marched to the camp, Rosa thinks of passing Magda to a bystander in an attempt to save her, but she fears the person might intentionally or unintentionally drop the baby. 1985 Then Stella steals the shawl and Magda walks out into the square. Sources…, The Shape of Space: The Beginning of Non-Euclidean Geometry, The She-Wolf (La Lupa) by Giovanni Verga, 1880,, Representations of the Holocaust in Children's Literature, “The Shawl” was adapted as a play by Cynthia Ozick. She also fears the Nazi guards, who will kill Magda the moment she is discovered.

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