The novel under consideration, namely “The True Story of Hansel and Gretel” was written by Louise Murphy. In the novel, the author has presented to us the true story of the famous fairy tale characters namely Hansel and Gretel. Both these characters, who are siblings belong to a Jewish family and are making attempts to survive, parentless in the part of Poland which is occupied by Nazis. It is said that, “In this extraordinary novel by Louise Murphy, a fairy tale is reimagined and a war story retold. It is the story of individuals striving to survive and a village trying to outlast a war.
Magda the witch lives on the edge of Piaski, in a region of Eastern Poland that has been overrun first by Russians and now by Germans. Her family is an assortment of outsiders. The villagers are terrorized by a small but vicious Nazi presence and weary at the end of a war that has brought them many conquerors and few saviors. Murphy unflinchingly presents the war as a landscape of horrors, the village humiliated under the yoke of ruthless SS officers and by the necessities of survival under unbearable circumstances” (The True Story of Hansel and Gretel, p.1). The setting of the novel is excellent in making the reader feel the power of the story and stirs the imagination of the reader himself. Also, the setting provides the themes of horror and fear that was felt by people of those days, and make the story even more realistic. For example, the father’s anger over the mother for asking the husband to hide the motorcycle and run into the forest is excellently depicted by him when he writes, “the father hated her with such a surge of his blood that he almost stopped the motorcycle so he could choke her. Beat her” (Murphy, p.4).
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