Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose Assignment Analyze and interpret the character of Josef. Who is Josef and what is his role in the story? Why is he important to the novel? What is his importance in terms of educating Yolen’s readers? In an interview with Yolen, the interviewer said, “Portions of Briar Rose containing homosexual content are one of the reasons it’s on the banned books lists.” Yolen replied, “The homosexual content is slight compared to ‘homosexual’ books. That is, there are no real sex scenes, and one bedroom scene that is really about politics, not sex. But I did not make up the pink triangle camps. Briar Rose deals pretty directly in one section with the infamous ‘Pink Triangle camps’ in which the Nazis’ incarcerated known or suspected homosexuals. In fact the “Prince” character is a gay man . . . . Because there is a homosexual character in the book, the novel has been banned in some places, and actually burned in Kansas City on the steps of the Board of Education by a right-wing religious group. I do not believe they read the book.” (Given that the Nazis burned books, the Kansas group’s actions are pretty ironic.) Your discussion of Josef’s importance in the novel could also involve a discussion of book censorship. Remember that a thesis statement asserts a debatable point–it doesn’t merely state a fact or factoid.
Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose Assignment
This essay must be a minimum of 1,000 words. There is no maximum limit on words or sources.
See the Grading Rubric for information on how your essay will be evaluated.
The essay must be in MLA format, with in-text citations and a works cited page. All sources must be on the works cited page, including the novel itself. You don’t need in-text citations for summaries or paraphrases from works of fiction. All you need in the citations for direct quotations from the novel are the page numbers since it is a given that Yolen is the author. I want you to base this essay on your own ideas and interpretations, but be sure to cite any outside sources if you use them and include them on your works cited page.
Be sure to use reputable information sources, and use scholarly sources if you cite experts.
You must submit this essay to Turnitin before you submit it for grading. Do so enough in advance that you can catch and fix any potential plagiarism or attribution problems.
Be sure to refer to specific passages in the novel. You need to demonstrate that you have read, thought about, and understood Briar Rose. Don’t assume that a few quotations here and there will suffice. Integrate discussion of the novel into the points that you make. As the Basic Paper Guidelines state, “Always keep your imagined audience in mind. Don’t imagine only your instructor or classmates; imagine the general public. Don’t assume that your audience is familiar with all of your examples or sources. When writing about a source, do not assume that everyone has read it. Ask yourself what your readers will need to know to understand the points that you are making. When we write something, we know what we mean to say. Therefore, it seems clear to us when we read it over—after all, we’ve just digested our own source material. But the people we should be imagining haven’t read everything that we have.”
Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose Assignment
When you refer to passages in the novel and use quotations from the novel, be sure to give context. Your imagined audience is a diverse group of people, most of whom have probably never read the novel. Your essay must be clear to them. You need to introduce the characters to your audience and give everything you write enough detail to make it understandable. Some of the general audience may also not know much about the Holocaust. Tell your readers what they would need to know to understand the arguments that you are making. Every semester I get a few essays that have only vague, and often random seeming, quotations and references to events in the novel, with most of the rest of the essay not drawing upon the novel at all. These give the impression of students who haven’t read the book but feel that by reading the cover notes, the study questions, and bits and pieces in the book, they can fake it. These essays simply aren’t any good, and the grades they earn reflect that.
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