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Written by Callie Labrador
Symbol : The Silver Sword
The silver sword is a symbol of a number of things in the novel. Primarily, it is a symbol of hope; hope that Joseph will find his children again, and that they are alive. To the children it is a symbol of their father being alive and the hope that they will one day be reunited. It is also a symbol of Jan's role in the Balicki family and to Jan it is a sort of talisman that keeps them all safe. He views it as a symbol of safety and of their ability to make their journey to Switzerland as a group without losing anyone one the way. The sword symbolizes the family being safe and the fulfillment of their shared hope that it will somehow reunite them all again.
Allegory : Daniel In The Lion's Den
For Ruth, this represents the story of their own troubles. The lions are all of the difficulties they are facing -hunger, cold and hardship. If they are patient and trustful like Daniel, they will be delivered from them just as he was delivered from the lions.
Allegory : Princess of the Brazen Mountains
Bronia is the Princess who flies on grey-blue wings, rescued by a Prince who has searched for her for seven years, allegorical of their father who has been searching for them. The Prince takes the Princess back to his mountain kingdom where they live happily ever after, just as Bronia believes their father will take them back to his "mountain kingdom", Switzerland.
Symbol : Switzerland as The Promised Land
Nothing will dissuade the children from going towards Switzerland as it symbolizes finding their parents, safety and everything that was good about the world before the Germans invaded Poland. They are resolute in their plan to reach the promised country and determined to find that it is all they dream it to be. Switzerland symbolizes a new start and the past being put behind them.
Motif : family
The entire reason for the actions of all of the Balickis is family. Joseph escapes from the Nazi prison because he wants to find his family. The children begin their journey to Switzerland because they want to find their parents. Throughout the book the motif of family appears through both the central characters and the more peripheral ones, such as Kurt Wolffe whose love for his own sons makes him more protective of the travelling children as he treats them as if they are his own, or the British officer whom they met on Berlin who wrote to his wife that he wishes they could adopt Bronia as their own since she reminds him of his own daughter, Jenny.
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