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Zel begins to have thoughts of a life of her own life and Zel's mother is fearful of her daughter ever leaving her, so when a young man accidentally meets Zel and they become attracted to each other, Zel's mother locks her away in a tower far away from everyone, especially the young man.
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Donna Jo Napoli is the author of many books for children and young adults includingThe Magic Circle, Zel, and Stones in Water. She has won numerous awards, including the Golden Kite Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Stones in Water. She lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.
Grade 9 Up?This retelling of the story of Rapunzel is no simple fairy tale retold for the entertainment of children. Instead, it is a searing commentary on the evil that can result from human longings gone awry. Napoli sets the novel in 16th-century Switzerland and alternates the various characters' points of view. Zel and Count Konrad's narratives are presented in the third person, while Mother tells her own story. All are told in the present tense. Readers learn that the barren mother's obsession for a child drove her to give herself up to eternal damnation in order to have a daughter. Now, she seeks to keep the child away from the world so that the innocent girl will choose her mother above all others. That this will mean Zel's damnation also does not deter Mother in the least. When the inevitable happens and Zel meets the young man, Mother locks her away in a tower. Unlike most versions, this story realistically portrays the dismal effects of isolation on the girl's mind and spirit. She goes quite mad but is still able to accept Konrad's love when he finds her at last. Konrad's transformation from arrogant noble to a man with an obsessive love for a girl he barely knows is less realistic but follows the traditional story line. In his final confrontation with Mother, evil appears to have triumphed. Even the eventual "happily ever after" ending cannot clear the air of the darkness that pervades this tale. Mother's fatal possessiveness and the horror of Zel's life in the tower are the dominant themes that readers will remember. This version, with its Faustian overtones, will challenge readers to think about this old story on a deeper level. It begs for discussion in literature classes.?Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Dutton Juvenile, 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110525456120
Book Description Dutton Juvenile. Hardcover. Condition: New. 0525456120 New Condition. Seller Inventory # NEW7.1144489