Summary Of Diane Glancy's Polar Breath

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The short story Polar Breath by Diane Glancy depicts the protagonist as a woman suffering from depression, showing the hopelessness, fatigue, and the feeling of being trapped that comes with this depression. This story doesn’t only illustrate what goes through our protagonist’s mind during the winter but, along with that feeling of detachment from everything surrounding her, it also makes us as the audience feel detached from the character and the story itself. In the opening paragraph the author doesn’t introduce the woman in a special or welcoming manner, but in fact, we are bombarded with the omniscient third-person point of view of the sidetracking thoughts that go through her mind, such as how the small, fragile birds in her yard kept themselves warm during the winter or why they didn’t just freeze like little ice-cubes. The…show more content…
When they are first mentioned it is because of something small and meaningless: a corn-less cob she found at the edge of her garden. She continues to blame these “spirits” for haunting her and letting themselves be found in everything she sees. A little further into the fifth paragraph we find what these spirits actually mean, “…to help her remember everything she saw. Things she noticed, thoughts she wanted to store in her head… The pattern of frost growing on the windows. How it covered the glass like ancient cave markings or the scribbling of a child. No, it wasn’t the frost at all. It was the spirits that got loose when it was cold… Hadn’t she seen them after her husband died last winter? Hadn’t she heard his ice-fishing decoys rattle one night” (Glancy, 1993, 22-28)? Since we already knew that she was battling depression, we can conclude that this was caused by the death of her husband the previous winter. These “spirits,” which are actually metaphors for her depression, show up once again in the wintertime, reminding her of the
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