The short story “Ice Break” by Astrid Blodgett is set in Canada, near to and on “Lake Wabamun” (l. 133) which is located in Alberta (where the author also lives). The main actions take place during a single day, at the end of winter (the ice on the lake is thinning).
The physical setting is depicted through the eyes of Dawn, the character-narrator. Part of the action takes place in the house, part in the truck, and part in the lake.
The lake setting is depicted in detail, and its descriptions suggest desolation and isolation:
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; (ll. 5-7)
The social setting illustrates aspects of family relationships, but also of the media and death.
The story shows the interactions between the five members of a family. The mother and the father seem to have a distant relationship. They have different interests and struggle to manage the time they spend with their daughters separately. Furthermore, they also have conflicts about Dawn, whom the father cannot understand.
The girls’ father and their Uncle Rick see things differently from their wives. According to Sam, their wives cannot understand their passion for ice fishing and underestimate their knowledge of nature: