Broken for You Summary & Study Guide

Stephanie Kallos
This Study Guide consists of approximately 25 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Broken for You.
This section contains 453 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Broken for You Summary & Study Guide Description

Broken for You 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 Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Broken for You by Stephanie Kallos.

Broken for You begins as the story of a woman enveloped by the past. Margaret Hauptmann Hughes is a wealthy Seatlle divorcee who lives in a sprawling mansion which overlooks the city. Margaret shuns closeness with people, preferring instead to interact with the objects in her vast collection of figurines and antiques which she inherited from her father, Oscar Hauptmann. Once upon a time, and for many years, Margaret Hauptmann Hughes was happy. However, when her marriage to a young painter fails and her beloved son dies in an automobile accident, Margaret retreats into a world of her own in which expensive soup tureens and delicate porcelain figurines become her only friends. Margaret's dead mother, Cassandra, haunts the Hughes mansion wearing expensive lingerie and often cheating at solitaire while sitting at the kitchen table. Cassandra reminds Margaret of just how small Margaret's life has become.

When Margaret learns that she has a brain tumor, she decides that it is time for a change. She meets a series of individuals from various walks of life who are also (in their own special ways) searching for connection, for love, for meaning. Wanda O'Casey is the first of these characters. Abandoned as a child, Wanda comes to Seattle on a hunch that her ex-lover Peter Hartzell may be there. Wanda becomes the first boarder to move into Margaret's spacious mansion.

On a walk through downtown Seattle, Margaret Hughes meets Gus MacPherson. Gus is a valet at the Hotel Orleans, a once-elegant establishment where Margaret and her ex-husband Stephen Hughes spent their honeymoon. Margaret invites Gus to the theater and they begin a companionable long-term friendship. When Gus MacPherson moves into the mansion, Margaret discovers that she enjoys having others around. She is certain that the collectibles are happy with her decision as well.

As Margaret becomes more comfortable with her new, more liberated self, she has a startling idea. Margaret decides that it is time to start breaking things. With Wanda O'Casey's help, Margaret Hughes first smashes an entire set of china that she received as a wedding gift. Initially, Margaret is somewhat unsure of her motivation for wanting to smash the teapots, inkstands, porcelain birds and ballerinas which fill the house, but she soon realizes that everything must go. As Margaret's condition progressively deteriorates, her surrogate family grows.

By the time Margaret finally reveals the secret of the origin of her vast collection of fine antiques, her house is alive with the sights and sounds of true family. With the addition of a cook, a nurse, a master carpenter and a gardener, Margaret and the others come to understand and appreciate the significance and beauty of life's emotional and metaphorical smithereens.

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This section contains 453 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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