The short story “Ice Break” by Astrid Blodgett features five active characters: the parents (Sam and the unnamed mother) and the three daughters (Dawn, Marla, and Janie). The most important characters in the short story are the parents and Dawn who is also the narrator. Marla and Janie are mostly important for the way the parents and Dawn relate to them.


Dawn is the narrator of the short story and the main character. Her outer characterisation presents her as the middle child, probably a young teenager. She has two other sisters and their parents are probably considering a divorce.

Inner characterisation

Dawn’s inner characterisation is conveyed mostly indirectly, through her actions and attitude towards the other characters and the events. Occasionally, Dawn describes herself directly, during the accident, focusing on her inability to react because of the shock of the events: “I’m not just deaf, I’m slow and stupid. I can’t unclip the buckle. My body is weighing it down. (…) My fingers are stiff and fat and useless.” (ll. 83-86)

Before the accident, Dawn’s attitude towards her parents reveals that she has difficult relationships with both of them. She is bothered that her mother does not take part in activities with her father and that the woman decides that Dawn should go on the fishing trip with her father: “Earlier, Dad had asked Mom to come. Mom said no. She always said no.” (ll. 11-12)

‘But you’re making me go.’
‘Not making you.’ Mom looked out the window. (ll. 48-49)

While Dawn is bothered by her mother’s attitude, she is also afraid of her father. The two do not get along well and fail to communicate:

I didn’t want to be alone with Dad. He was always grouchier when it was just him and me. He was scary when he got mad. And he never knew what to talk about with me so it was uncomfortable and we both ended up saying all the wrong things. (ll. 90-92)


The parents

We will analyse the parents together because their characters are mostly relevant because of their attitude towards each other and towards their children.

Their outer characterisation suggests that the mother is probably a business woman, while their father feels closer to nature (as he loves going ice fishing): “She was doing some work, some financial stuff she needed to catch up on.” (ll. 12-13)

Inner characterisation

Their inner characterisation suggests that as a couple they want different things and they have conflicts regarding their children. This is why the mother never goes fishing and why they try to get the girls used to spending time with them separately: “Sometimes they did that, one parent, one child” (l. 23).

Furthermore, the father is disappointed by his relationship with Dawn whom he cannot understand. This leads to a conflict with his wife:

He said he’d tried to talk to me and I just wasn’t receptive; and Mom said he had to get over it, he had to get over the idea that someone will be how you imagine them to be, and just accept them. (ll. 93-95)


Teksten herover er et uddrag fra webbogen. Kun medlemmer kan læse hele indholdet.

Få adgang til hele Webbogen.

Som medlem på får du adgang til alt indhold.

Køb medlemskab nu

Allerede medlem? Log ind