Barely Breathing Themes & Motifs

Rebecca Donovan
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Barely Breathing.
This section contains 790 words
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Family

The theme of family is a dominant theme in Rebecca Donovan’s novel, “Barely Breathing.” In the novel, the idea of family includes anyone who shows unconditional love, loyalty, compassion, protection, and concern for others who may or may not be blood-related. The concept of family primarily concerns itself with the character of Emma Thompson. Family appears as both a successful and a failed institution.

In terms of the failure of family, Emma’s own mother is an example. As if Emma’s near-death at the hands of her Aunt Carol wasn’t enough, Emma now has to contend with her mother Rachel, who is utterly self-centered. Rachel is a drunk and a drug addict. Rather than seeing to the concerns of her daughter, Rachel is obsessed with parties, drugs, alcohol, and guys. Furthermore, rather than seeking to be Emma’s mother, Rachel wants to be...

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This section contains 790 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Barely Breathing Study Guide
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