The Silver Sword Literary Elements

The Silver Sword Literary Elements


Children's Fiction

Setting and Context

Poland, 1939-46 World War Two under Nazi Occupation

Narrator and Point of View

Third person narrator telling story chiefly from the point of view of the Balicki family

Tone and Mood

Threatening, dangerous yet also hopeful and optimistic of better things to come

Protagonist and Antagonist

Balicki family are the protagonists, the occupying Germans the antagonist

Major Conflict

World War Two, the Poles being taken by the Nazis


Ruth waking to find not only her father, but her mother, sitting at her bedside


The storm clouds gathering as the children explore the lake, suggesting that they are soon to be cut off from the mainland


Joseph notices the Warsaw people are hungry which is a terrific understatement; food is scarce and they are literally starving


Ruth alludes to the story of Daniel and the Lions to describe the family's situation


Throughout the novel the bleakness is described both visually, with the bleakness of the landscape and also the bleakness of the situation occupation by the Germans has put the Poles in, bleakness at the prison camp and again in the city where the children are living a terrible existence in bombed out houses


The people of Warsaw are living in deplorable, sub-human conditions yet their pride and defiance allows them to decorate the cellars and tunnels they live in as if they were their homes


There is a parallel between Jan and the lost son of Herr and Frau Wolff as both dearly loved Ludwig the dog and in turn were adored by him

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The camp wanted Edek to stay until he was healthier, using the word "camp" to represent the superintendent of the transit camp and his co-workers


Jan states that the sword would not have allowed him to stay with Herr and Frau Wolff, attributing intention and authority to an object

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