Rose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti and Christopher Gallaz
***Spoiler Alert**Rose Blanche is a picture book about a young girl living in a small town in Germany. One day, some trucks with soldiers [Nazis] show up and take over the town. Then, some people are rounded up and put on trucks that drive them away. Rose, curious about these truckloads of people, decides to follow them. She follows the trucks out of town and through fields and forests until she comes upon some buildings surrounded by pointy [barbed] wire and where there are lots of children just standing around. They tell Rose that they are very hungry.
Rose keeps returning, bringing the children whatever food she could sneak away from home for them to eat. One night, the soldiers silently flee the area, followed by the townspeople also running away because other [allied] soldiers are on their way to the town. Not knowing what is happening, Rose takes her food and returns to where the children are, but the place is empty and despite the dense fog, she can see that the children are gone. While she is standing there, there is a single gunshot. Rose is never seen again.
I found two real problems with Rose Blanche. The first was that right in the middle of the first person narration by Rose, the narrating voice switches to the third person. Why? Even given her eventual fate, this just didn't need to happen and it was jarring. I think using a third person narrator would have been better from the start anyway, given the freedom an omniscient narrator has over a first person.
Roberto Innocenti lived through the war in Italy and because he was afraid and given no explanations about what was happening, he decided to do Rose Blanche as an introduction to the Holocaust for children, in the hope that it would lead to a helpful, informative dialogue between children and adults. To foster that dialogue, there are no explanations of what is happening, only Rose's very concrete descriptions of what she sees. And what she see can be found in the very detailed illustrations that accompany the sparse text. In that respect, it is a perfect example of how a child, like Innocenti himself, might view the world around them sometimes lots of things happening but not enough experience to understand it all.
I really wanted to love Rose Blanche, but in the end, I could only like it. This being said, this is not a book to just disregard. There is much to be gotten from it. A tremendous amount of discussion inducing material can be found Innocenti's wonderfully detailed, claustrophobic illustrations when used in conjunction with hard facts about the Holocaust. And given that Rose Blanche is named for the German resistance movement die Weisse Rose, any discussion could naturally include ideas about the resistance and the fate of the young people in it.
This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library.
The Historical Association has an extensive lesson plan for teaching Rose Blanche
An excellent lesson plan by Laura Krenk and Arlene Logan can be downloaded here
Essay about Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire
1016 Words5 Pages
While watching A Streetcar named Desire, the character of Blanche Dubois at first appeared to be a weak self-absorbed southern woman, when really what started coming from her character was a flawed personality. What is not known is whether this is something that runs in the family, or has only shown itself through Blanche. Since this was during a time when mental illness was not yet studied deeply, the way Blanche is treated while succumbing to her illness and how she was sent off to the mental hospital was rather archaic. Blanche is the central character and the movie shows her spiraling down into the abyss of mental illness apparently escalated by the loss of family, her home and the treatment by Stanley. Inside, Blanche…show more content…
The person may be unable to cope with losses or failures.” which in the case of Blanche, appears to be her problem. She showed the provocative behavior towards Stanley at first and during points within the movie while also performing to gain the attention of those around her.
Blanche was deeply ensconced in the belle of the south rearing she had received growing up, and played that to the best of her ability. The disorder she suffered from may have had its groundings in that southern way of raising girls during that era. In the movie, Blanche relies on her upbringing to portray the helpless female image she uses to get what she wants from a person or in a situation. One of the lines in the movie caters to her narcissistic self, while at the same time using her belle of the south upbringing to her advantage when she was speaking with Mitch, a possible love interest. Blanche states, “I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action.” By making that statement, Blanche first attempts to cover her aging from the harsh light and then pulls out the dainty little lady card by making the point of tolerating neither rudeness nor vulgarity.
As part of her illness, flirting and promiscuity come into play during different parts of her life. At one point in the movie, it was told by Stanley to Stella how Blanche had been asked to Bryan 3 leave the