Introduction & Overview of Hot Ice

This Study Guide consists of approximately 28 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Hot Ice.
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Hot Ice Summary & Study Guide Description

Hot Ice Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on Hot Ice by Stuart Dybek.

Stuart Dybek's story “Hot Ice” takes place in a changing working-class neighborhood of Chicago during the 1970s. As is typical of much of his work, Dybek mixes realism with fantasy to create a specific sense of place. At the center of the story is an urban legend about a girl who was drowned in a lake in the nearby park decades earlier and then frozen in the local ice house and the miracles that people around the neighborhood attribute to her. Her story affects the lives of three young men: Pancho, who is fanatically religious to the point of mental instability; his brother Manny, the cynic; and Eddie, who feels both the weight of tradition and the struggle to live a good life in a harsh environment. As they move through their days, Dybek renders with precise clarity the details of a city in transition, mixing memories of ice delivery and sharpening carts and streetcars and riding boxcars with the oppressive, looming presence of the county jail and the boarded windows of a neighborhood that is slipping away from memory.

The story was published in Antaeus in 1984, and the following year it was chosen for the O. Henry Award for short fiction. It is one of four Dybek stories that have won O. Henrys, three of them coming from the collection in which “Hot Ice” appears, The Coast of Chicago. In 2004, The Coast of Chicago was chosen for the city's “One Book, One Chicago” program, which encouraged not just students but all citizens to participate in a city-wide discussion club about the book.

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