The Shawl Literary Elements

The Shawl Literary Elements


Novella, a short story

Setting and Context

The actions must have taken place during the World War II in one of the concentration camps organized by Nazis for Jewish.

Narrator and Point of View


Tone and Mood

The story is told in a depressive and sad mood, and it becomes even drearier when the culmination takes place – Magda’s death

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the story is Rosa, and Nazis stand for antagonists

Major Conflict

The major conflict stands in unhuman conditions and barbarism attitude of Nazis towards Jewish


Climax happens when Stella takes away Magda’s shawl, which resulted in her death


From the very beginning nothing good can be foreseen. The heroes are starving, young mother has no milt to feed her child, they are cold and tired. All the atmosphere foreshadows nothing but death


What is not said directly is whether Magda is or not a daughter of one of the Nazis, these are just some hints on it.


The author mentions a yellow star which is known as a sign of Jewish. They were forced to mark themselves with it to identify their nationality


The author uses imagery to describe living conditions of Jewish in the barracks.


Though Magda is a daughter of a Nazi soldier Rosa still loves her with all her heart, and does not let hatred towards the Nazis destroy her attitude towards an innocent child



Metonymy and Synecdoche



The shawl itself acquires some qualities of a human – it has an ability to feed a child for three days and three nights, and also for Magda this shawl becomes her “own baby, her pet, her little sister”.
Also the sound of the eclecticized fence is personified, they “crowded” at Rosa, and when Magda has been thrown against that fence “electric voices began to chatter wildly” and “went mad in their growling”.

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