Thesis Title

Fragmentation and Re-Construction: Folklore and Metanarration in Jane Yolen's Briar Rose

Date of Graduation

Summer 2006


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Joel Chaston


Storytelling has been a significant influence in children's literature, and it could be argued that the folktales form the very foundations of children's literature. Jane Yolen's Briar Rose is unique in its depiction of orality and storytelling because of Yolen's connection to the oral tradition and her attention to the very nature of orality itself. Her postmodern fragmentation of a familiar tale transforms the function of the fairytale from an entertaining bedtime story to a series of oral narratives that tell a much darker and more fragmented "story" of the Holocaust. In addition, Yolen's text serves as a metanarration on the storytelling process. This transformation of both narrative and genre reflects a postmodern shift in historical fiction and fantasy. Briar Rose establishes narrative "frames" which draw boundaries between history and fantasy, orality and literacy, and fiction and truth. This thesis examines how Yolen relies on her readers' expectations of these frames to allow her to deconstruct and fragment these frames which first require readers to question their definitions of truth and fiction and later transforms their concepts of all narratives both historical and fantastical.


folklore, postmodernism, historical fiction, fantasy, Jane Yolen

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Genevieve S. Baumann