Narrative structure

The short story “Ice Break” by Astrid Blodgett follows the characters during a day in their lives, the day when two of them die because the ice on a lake cracks and their truck sinks.

The short story is structured using fragmentation. Two timelines overlap throughout the story: before and during the accident. The two timelines meet at the end, at the funeral of the father and one of the daughters. In a way, the timeline following the narrator during the accident functions as an ongoing climax. It is the strongest tension point of the story, but it is not presented in a single scene. Moments from during the accident are inserted into the narrative about events before the accident.




The short story begins in media res (in the middle of events), at the moment the ice on the lake brakes while Dawn, her sister Janie, and her father are driving on it:



The middle of the action is constructed through two overlapping timelines—before and during the accident. The narrative constantly jumps back and forth with longer passages describing what happened before the accident and shorter ones depicting the events during the accident.

The narrative which contains details of events before the accident uses flashbacks to give readers a backstory on Dawn’s family. We find out that the interactions between family members are occasionally tense and conflicting: “Earlier, Dad had asked Mom to come. Mom said no. She always said no.” (ll. 11-12)

Sometimes they did that, one parent, one child. Every six months, it seemed, we had a family meeting about it, and it worked okay for a week (….). Or two of us wanted to do whatever it was Mom or Dad wanted to do with just one of us. So it never really worked. (ll. 23-27)



The last part of the short story reveals that only Dawn survived the accident and joins the two timelines at the funeral: “After Dad pushed me out of the truck, I floated up and hit the ice from underneath. Over and over, I kept hitting ice. It took the longest time to find the hole.” (ll. 156-157); “The funeral was on Thursday. Janie’s face had make-up all over. (…) They even put make-up on Dad. I looked at their chests for the longest time, waiting for them to move up and down.” (ll. 160-164)


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