Saturday, January 21, 2012

Day Twenty-One: "The Shawl" by Cynthia Ozick


A tragic holocaust story of a toddler being thrown to the wolves. Literally. With images that are both disturbing and soft-hearted, Cynthia Ozick creates a sense of uneasiness that defines this short story. For some, I think this story would be too gruesome or difficult to read, particularly because it pairs the loving relationship between a child and mother with the relationship between the German Nazis and the Jews in a way that leaves the reader shocked and cold and without hope.

The shawl itself is used as a symbol of what protects the child from harm. The actual shawl shields the child from recognition and her ultimate execution and the symbolic shawl is what feeds her, nourishes her while she waits for a certain death. This is one of those stories I'll need to read a second and third time to fully see what Ozick was doing.

This was a lovely read!

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