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Transcript of The Shawl
By Cynthia Ozick
Cynthia was born April 7, 1928, in New York City
She is the youngest of two children
Her parents were Celia and William Ozick
She was raised in Bronx, New York
Cynthia's parents were both Russian immigrants
Her mom immigrated as a child, and her dad immigrated as a 21 year old to escape the Tsarist conscription
her parents owned a drug store
Cynthia was forced to work as a delivery girl for their family business
While delivering prescriptions, people would throw stones at her and call her a Christ killer
She was ridiculed in school because she did not feel comfortable singing Christian Christmas songs
Cynthia attended high school at Hunter College High school in Manhattan
She attended Washington Square College of New York University in Greenwich Village where she earned her B. A.
She moved to Columbus, Ohio to attend Ohio University where she completed her M. A.
Influence in Cynthia's writing
Her interest in the Holocaust stems from her Jewish upbringing
During WWII, Cynthia was in high school.
She was roughly the same age as Anne Frank
Although she knew a war was going on, she was isolated from it
She was taking German as a second language in school
Her writing reflects her interest in the Holocaust and she has often said she hopes she can educate others and keep the memory alive
About the Author
1. Where did Cynthia grow up as a child?
2. What religion is Cynthia?
3. What college did she gain her M. A. from?
4. What did Cynthia do as a job when she was a child?
5. What award was Cynthia the first recipient of?
a famous American-Jewish short story writer, novelist, and essayist
still alive today at age 85
first recipient of the Rea Award for short stories in 1976
American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded her the Mildred and Harold Strauss living award
PEN/ Malamud award in 2008
She dramatized "The Shawl" and it's sequel "Rosa" for stage work
She married Bernard Hallote, a lawyer, in 1952 at age 24
She has one daughter, Rachel Hallote, who heads a Jewish studies program
Famous Quote: "I wanted to use what I was, to be what I was born to be - not to have a 'career', but to be that straightforward obvious unmistakable animal, a writer"
• Trust (1966)
• The Cannibal Galaxy (1983)
• The Messiah of Stockholm (1987)
• The Puttermesser Papers (1997)
• Heir to the Glimmering World (2004) (published in the United Kingdom in 2005 as The Bear Boy)
• Foreign Bodies (2010)
• The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories (1971)
• Bloodshed and Three Novellas (1976)
• Levitation: Five Fictions (1982)
• Envy; or, Yiddish in America (1969)
• The Shawl (1989)
• Collected Stories (2007)
• Dictation: A Quartet (2008)
• All the World Wants the Jews Dead (1974)
• Art and Ardor (1983)
• Metaphor & Memory (1989)
• What Henry James Knew and Other Essays on Writers (1993)
• Fame & Folly: Essays (1996)
• Quarrel & Quandary (2000)
• The Din in the Head: Essays (2006)
• Blue Light (1994)
The Shawl takes place during WWII, the holocaust. So first we will do a little background information...
The holocaust was the mass slaughter of European civilians and especially Jews by the Nazis during WWII.
established in March 1933
first regular camp established by Nation Socialist Government
described as "first concentration camp for political prisoners"
held near 4,800 prisoners
consisted primarily of German Communists, Social Democrats, Trade Unionists, and other opponents of the Nazi regime. Other groups were also interned at Dachau, such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma, homosexuals, and repeat criminal offenders
prisoners were forced to do construction on the camps
After persecution of Jews began to increase, more than 10,000 Jewish men were sent to Dachau in 1938
camp was divided into two sections; camp area, and crematoria area
an electrified barb wire fence, a ditch, and a wall with seven guard towers surrounded the camp
crematorium included the gas chamber those that were sick or weak were killed
prisoners were also used to conduct medical experiments
German physicians preformed experiments such as including high-altitude experiments using decompression chambers, Malaria and Tuberculosis experiments, Hypothermia experiments, and experiments testing new medications
hundreds of prisoners died, or became disabled
principle concentration camp in Berlin
Opened July 12, 1936
Mainly incarcerated political opponents and real or perceived criminal offenders in Sachsenhausen
By the end of 1936, camp held 1,600 prisoners
the number of prisoners grew from 21 to 11, 100 in 8 years
A decrease in Jews occurred when the SS would often transport Jewish prisoners to often Auschwitz
By 1942, there were few prisoners and this remained until 1944
SS authorities began to bring thousands of Hungarian and Polish Jews from ghettos and other concentration camps to Sachsenhausen as the need for forced laborers in Sachsenhausen and its' subcamps increased
one of the largest camps established
opened for prisoners in July 1937
women were not apart of Buchenwald until late 1943-1944
an electric barbed wire fence, watchtowers, and a chain of sentries outfitted with automatic machine guns, surrounded the camp
The SS often shot prisoners in the stables and hung other prisoners in the crematorium area
early inmates were political prisoners
in 1938, 10,000 Jews were sent to Buchenwald to be tortured
prisoners also participated in medical experiments
serious diseases spread throughout the camp
in 1944, Dr. Carl Vaernet began an experiment claimed to "cure" Homosexuality through hormonal transplants
established in June 1933 in an old castle
held about 2,000 inmates
By August 1937, all male prisoners had been transported to other camps while women stayed at Lichtenburg
Females remained until May 1939 before being transferred to a new camp
Concentration Camps 1933- 1939
the first camps were established soon after Hitler was made Chancellor of Germany in 1933
German authorities established camps in Germany due to the masses of people arrested everyday
Hitler authorized a Reich leader to formalize concentration camps into a system
after December 1934, only four concentration camps were left: Dachau, near Munich; Sachsenhausen, near Berlin; Buchenwald, near Weimar; and Lichtenburg, near Merseburg in Saxony for female prisoners
By: Kennedy Morehead
Conley Grayson Norris
English 10, 6
December 5, 2013
We can infer the story takes place in Germany due to the Holocaust taking place here.
The story took place anywhere between 1933 and 1945, amiss the Holocaust
Most Jews were hiding from the Nazis or in concentration camps. Nazis officers tortured Jews and captured them. They were starved, beaten, and treated like animals. The Aryans (non-Jews) were favored by Hitler. Most Aryan men served in the Nazi army.
For Aryans, any other religion
Mental and Emotional Conditions:
Most of the Jewish population's mental state was questioned.
Some went crazy with Paranoia, some had Depression, and all were frightened.
The Aryan group of the Nazi army believed the Jews were scum, and that they were helping the world by getting rid of them. The Jews knew they were not wrong to believe in their religion, and most stuck by their belief through the terror.
The Jews within the concentration camps were limited to talking with certain fellow Jews and a few Nazi officers. The Aryans were free to socialize.
Mother of two children
Magda and Stella
Was sexually assaulted by an Arian and became pregnant
She has to protect her children, especially Magda (the infant)
If they were to see her, they would execute her
14 years old
Daughter to Rosa, sister to Magda
Jealous of Magda
Child of Rosa, sister to Stella
Very young, probably around one or two
hidden from human contact besides her mother and half-sister, Stella
lives off the shawl that feeds her
The idea of the story is to show the devastation and danger created by the Holocaust. Thousands of people were affected during this time. It allows the reader to feel a great sense mourning when Magda is killed; as if you were there with the family experiencing it all.
1. Cynthia grew up in Bronx, New York.
2. Cynthia is Jewish.
3. Ohio State University
4. She delivered prescriptions for her parents who owned a drug store.
5. The Rea Award.
ACTION AND STRUCTURE
In this short story, we begin with the fragment "Stella, cold, cold, the coldness of hell." The repetition of the word "cold" and the irony of "coldness of hell" describe how terrible living conditions were for them.
Rosa watched as Magda ran outside of the barracks into the "jolly light" in search of her shawl. Rosa knew if the Nazis saw Magda, they would kill her. She prayed Magda would be alright.
As she steps out of the barracks into the arena, she hears the humming of the electric fence speaking to her. They tell her to "hold up the shawl high.. to shake it, to whip it, to unfurl it like a flag". Magda spots her beloved shawl and reaches out for it as she is carried away by a soldier.
In the same paragraph, Cynthia describes Rosa holding her youngest child, Magda, in her arms, hidden under a shawl. Magda has never had an actual cradle. Her mother is labeled in a metaphor as a "walking cradle" because her mother is her cradle.
The author portrays their frail appearance, saying how Stella's (Rosa's eldest daughter) "knees were tumors on sticks, her elbows chicken legs." From this metaphor, we know that they cannot eat and are physically wasting away. They are so thin that Rosa cannot even produce milk for Magda anymore.
We find out that Magda and Stella do not have the same dad. In fact, Magda is both Jewish and Aryan. Rosa knew that if the Nazi officers found out Magda was not Jewish, they would kill her. So the shawl served the purpose of protection and hiding.
The shawl is Magda's life support. She is shielded from the outside world by it. Stella looks at Magda "like a young cannibal" sometimes. This simile illustrates just how jealous Stella was of Magda's luck of having the shawl.
Rosa understood that Magda's life was to be short. She had already outlived her life expectancy due to her being mute and isolation from the general public, hidden under the shawl. Her death came even sooner than expected due to the shawl being ripped off of her.
Rosa could see Stella's heart was cold. Magda's legs were metaphorically like "pencils scribbling this way and that, searching for the shawl" as she realized her safety blanket was gone.
"Even when the lice, head lice and body lice, crazed her so that she became as wild as one of the big rats that plundered the barracks at day break looking for carrion, she rubbed and scratched and kicked and bit and rolled without a whimper. But now mafda's mouth was spilling a long vicious rope of clamor." Rosa knew that Magda was going to die.
Rosa knew that the only thing that could silence Magda was the shawl. If she ran and snatched up the child, she would still scream. But if she ran and took the shawl from Stella, Magda would be mute again. She made the decision to run and get the Shawl.
While running to Magda, she envisioned a better life outside of the electric fences. A life filled with tiger lilies and daisies. But in their reality, the flowers were feces dripping from the top bunks in their barracks.
"The light tapped the helmet and sparkled it into a goblet" as the soldier walked away with little Magda. The humming grew louder and called " Maamaaa, maaaamaaa". Rosa thinks about how far Magda is now. The metaphor "she was no bigger than a moth" allows us to visualize how far away Magda was at the time.
Rosa watches in horror as Magda is thrown against the electric fence. The voices in Rosa's head are telling her to run to her child, but she knows they will kill her too. She just stands there, stuffing the shawl deep in her mouth as Magda always had. She drank from the shawl until it was dry.
The short story, The Shawl, tells a tragic story of a Jewish family trapped in a concentration camp. Cynthia Ozick cleverly uses literary tools like onomatopoeia, countless metaphors, and many similes; adding depth and illustration to the tale.
" I want war. To me all means will be right. My motto is not "Dont annoy the enemy. My motto is destroy him by all means, I am the one who will wage the war!"
Principle cause of WWII, killing 70 million
manipulative and mysterious
came off as charming, using this to gain quick trust
Born in Austria in 1889
did not have a great early life; rejected from his application to art school
The Holocaust started when Hitler became displeased by The Treaty of Versailles
this lead to the creation of the Nazi political party, a mix of nationalistic and fascist policies
In 1923, Hitler led his small party, the Nazi's, to the Munich beer hall putsch
This failed and Hitler was sent to jail
Here he wrote "Mein Kampf"
an exposition of his philosophy which included his growing antisemitic ideology and ideas of an idealized Aryan race
"The personification of the devil as the symbol of all evil assumes the living shape of the Jew."
After his release from jail, he tried to gain electoral support
the Great Depression provided a great chance
Hitler was victorious in the 1933 election as leader of the Nazi party
He designated himself as the supreme leader and ended all pretense to democracy
He earned everyone's trust by regaining jobs lost in the depression
Hitler believed in an all Aryan society
he began a policy of discrimination and harassment toward the Jewish population
this reached Poland, Britan, and France
they decided to oppose and declare war on Germany, after Hitler attacked Poland
The German army was one of the most powerful and were superior to the allied armies
The Soviets in the East, and the allies in the west began their long fight to occupy Europe, eventually meeting in Berlin
Once the Soviet troops were in earshot distance, Hitler committed suicide
Over 6 million Jewish people died in various concentration and extermination camps. These camps also saw the deaths of millions of other undesirables, from Russian prisoners of war, Communists, Homosexuals, and Gypsies
born April 20, 1889
Austrian born German politician, and Nazi leader
high school dropout
suffered from Insomnia
never took off his jacket in public
died April 30, 1945
the term Concentration Camp refers to a camp in which people are detained or confined against their will
these are usually under very poor conditions