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Written by Anastasia Melnyk
The shawl (Symbol)
The shawl is a main clue to the understanding of the story, its symbolism is rather difficult because it symbolizes both life and death. It is called by the author “a magical shawl” as it has managed to nourish Magda for three days and three nights. The little baby has been sucking to its edge instead of Rosa’s teats, which had no stiff of milk. Magda was buried in the shawl, and was protected in it, “the shawl was Magda’s own baby, her pet, her little sister”.
But is has been took away and became a reason for Magda’s death. When little girl did not find her treasure she went howling for it, and thus was noticed by Nazi soldier. The shawl has been her protection for 15 months of her life, actually for her entire life, and in the end became her death. The shawl is the only thing Magda has even known.
Blueness of Magda’s eyes (Motif)
Magda is not given any vivid description but of her eyes, which are blue. Within the text Magda’s eyes are mentioned for several times. First it comes just as appearance description: “eyes blue as air…you could think she was one of their babies”, and this fact also clears that she must be a daughter of one of the Nazi soldiers. Also “blueness of her eyes” is studied time after time by Rosa and sometimes by Stella. Her eyes become an object of interest, it is what draws attention to her, it stands for source of her inner power: “Magda was quiet, but her eyes were horribly alive, like blue tigers.” Comparison with a tiger adds to these eyes of Magda even more power, as tigers are animals symbolizing energy, power and protection. And with this eyes of her “she watched like a tiger. She guarded her shawl.”
Yellow Star (Symbol)
Yellow star, or yellow badge is known as a sign of Jewish. They were to wear it on their clothes to indicate who they were. It is a symbol of shame belonging to Jewish nation. In the context it does not have some additional symbolism, except clarifying who Rosa is, but it helps to understand what and where is happening.
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