Showcase Portfolio: The Break

The Break by Katherena Vermette is set in Winnipeg’s north end and tells the story of healing, through the different views of a family. My portfolio will contain a thematic essay, a concept map, and a blog post. I will use my showcase portfolio to show how family relations can affect the way a person heals. After analysing The Break I can now understand how a person’s relations can help in support of the healing process after a traumatic event, that people heal better with the aid those who love them.


Understanding Family through the Process of Healing 

 It is widely believed The Break is about violence and first nations. It can also be believed that it is about the process of healing. It can also be assumed that the novel is about love. It is about all of those things of course. The Break has a theme that seems to incorporate all of those things. The theme that is never explicitly mentioned is that of how your family life affects you greatly as a person. With those you love most and are closest to, they feel will affect how you are growing as a person. 

Whenever thinking about the break, one of the first things that happen to come to my mind is family. Although not explicitly stated, the author makes it clear about how important family is to each one of the main characters. As one illustration, Phoenix misses her family and wishes she had more of it. Phoenix often talked about her sisters and mother, how she hated her mother for abandoning her and how she missed spending time and being a kid with her sisters. She then talks about wishing to protect her younger siblings, how she missed them a lot and hoped they were doing fine and being strong on their own. Another example would be Tommy and his wife, mother and language teacher. His wife is the family that had supported him in his investigation unconditionally. And Tommy’s mother was there or most of his life helping him through the toughest points in his childhood, he looked up to her as a role model. Tommy’s language teacher was like a father figure to him, his language teacher is helping him restore the language and culture he wished he grew up with. On the other hand, Emily and her family are so closely connected to one another. And in all honestly, Emily’s family is hard to put into one set perspective as there are so many viewpoints to consider. Unlike Phoenix and Tommy, who had grown up with smaller families. To describe Emily’s family without stereotyping would be of strenuous exertion, taking up far more words than this essay can handle. Which is just a perfect example of how close they are to one another. The sisters and mother of her family, are so close to each other and are very conciliatory about the issues they are faced with. The author makes it clear on the importance of family through the thoughts and attitudes of each main character.

Then, there is the other big topic of healing. Healing seems to be what every character is going through. Emily is healing from her assault. Throughout the book, the author exhibits the effect of Emily healing from her struggles, and demonstrates how that impacted the rest of her family. Another example might be, how Cheryl is still coping with the death of her sister Rain that had happened many years ago. Rain and Cheryl were very close, and the death of Rain opened a hole in her heart. Cheryl and the rest of her family had been healing from the death ever since the night Rain had perished. Another example would be how Lou is healing from the past she had with her previous boyfriend, and the present she has with her current boyfriend. Because of the effect her lovers had on her, she has many trust issues. To clarify, Lou has been learning to lessen her distrust, caused by her lovers. To summarize each character had been dealing with their own personal storms for the duration of the book. It becomes clear that as well as Family, the author wants you to see the process of healing, and who it impacts.

 The theme the author wants you to think about is that of how Family is affected by the process of healing, and how the process of healing is affected by family. Not only does the author try to convey that message, but she also tries to make many new readers aware of the violence that takes place in Winnipeg’s North End to the aboriginal people that reside there. The theme and content matter sits with you far after reading the novel and gives me and many others a new perspective.

Concept map

Blog Post: How Family Can Affect the Growth of a Person