The language of the short story “Ice Break” by Astrid Blodgett is easy to follow as it is supposed to mimic the way a teenager thinks and perceives the events she experiences. The choice of words is connected to family life and the landscape of the frozen lake.

Dialogue is occasionally employed, but narrative and descriptive passages are more prevalent. For this reason, you will notice the author employs a lot of imagery related to the setting and the action, such as in the following example:

Everywhere I look outside there’s the lake and the sky, both the same grey-white, blurred together so you can’t see, way out there, what is lake and what is sky; and here and there in the middle distance men hunched on stools, dark silhouettes;



A few similes further contribute to imagery and suggest deeper meanings about what is being described. When Dawn mentions her “handprints like claws” (l. 10), it is to convey the panic and desperation of the girl while she is trying to hang on to life.

When Dawn mentions the five-dollar bill was “crisp and smooth and flat, like a page from a brand new book” (ll. 99-100),...



Several repetitions are also used in the text. “Mom said no. She always said no.”(l. 12) helps the author suggest that there is an underlying conflict between the parents that Dawn is well aware of.

The five-dollar bill is also mentioned several times in the text. The repetition helps suggest how important the bill was for the girls.



Some elements mentioned in the text fulfil a symbolic function.

The money (the five-dollar bill) is a symbol of a bribe, but also of pride. They represent Dawn’s earnings which she is willing to sacrifice so that she does not go ice fishing alone with her father. At the end, as Dawn imagines her mother found the bill in Janie’s clothes, the money becomes a symbol of guilt.


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