Sample Essay

“A provocative transformation of the classic fairy tale into a haunting survival story set in Poland during WWII, Murphy’s second novel (after The Sea Within) is darkly enchanting…. No reader who picks up this inspiring novel will put it down until the final pages, in which redemption is not a fairy tale ending but a heartening message of hope.”

–Publishers Weekly

  In the novel, the characters perhaps do not change much. Perhaps the one character, who I believe changes a bit, is that of the witch Magda. The old women, who in the beginning is said to be a witch, as she is considered one by the people of the village. The woman is basically a gypsy and is an outsider from the village of Piaski where she is taken to be a witch. Eventually, it turns out that she is someone who wishes to save the lives of the children under any circumstances. While going through the novel it is evident that the woman is not an uptight, harmful witch but is the children’s savior. Magda, here eventually turns into someone who is ready to do anything to save the children’s lives and the scary bit of the novel has nothing to do with her. She risks her own life to save them and provides them with heaven inside her hut. The efforts that are made by her to save the children are nearly heroic as she pays a high price of her life for doing so.

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