The following paper analyzes the aspects of the relationship with the context of a memoir written by Liz Murray in 2010 and titled as “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.” Murray presents the account of her life and tells that at the age of fifteen she used to live on the street; while through her persistence, she made a way to the Harvard. The chronicles assert the significance of different relationships in one’s life and highlight the uncaring family crisis throughout the life of Murray. Regardless of all the circumstances Murray did not lash back and kept pampering her dear ones. The following content elaborates her feelings for her family specifically for her mother, through the symbol of a photograph.
The book employs the gestures of symbols rarely; nevertheless, the notion of a photograph of Liz’s mother is a substantial one. It is the photograph of “Ma” and depicts Liz’s mother at a young age; the picture is black and white and creased from all the years. Liz explicates that it was “one photo of her, the black-and-white one from when she was a teenager, living on the streets.” (Murray, 2010) Liz’s mother was a drug addict and used to live on the streets, and she met Liz’s father through a deal of the drug. The homelessness of Liz recalls her, the street life of her mother, and she sees her mother in herself. The subject allusion of parallel, in turn, compels Liz to keep a picture of her mother always with her.
Evidently, despite the tough, and difficult relationship with family, Liz loves her parents and sister. No doubt her parents neglect her to a criminal extent, and not always there to give adequate care to their daughters because of their drug addiction routines. However, Liz never ceases to show that she cares for them, and the symbol of a photograph of her mother is one of the evidence that she wants to keep her mother close to her. The symbol of keeping a photograph of Ma also supported through the concern of Liz, she demonstrates to comfort her mother when her father was away from home, and it occurs frequently.
The photograph of Ma also works as a lesson in Liz’s life; at times she despises the drug-addicted demeanor of her mother. However, the temper and rage never overtake the love she has for her mother; but the life’s failures and difficulties encourage her to go for a different path than her mother. Once Ma sales out the coat of Liz just to gratify her addiction needs, and to acquire the drugs she even pledged her daughter’s well-being. Such harsh experiences prevent Liz becoming her mother and despite being homeless and living on the street, Liz does not opt for the way of drugs instead, she finds a path of salvation through education. Her mother photograph stays with her as a souvenir and recalls her to never encounter the similar destination regardless of utter resemblances.
By analyzing the above content, it becomes evident that relationships play a vital role in creating or destructing a person’s life. The symbol of Ma’s photograph explains the strong connection a child has with his or her parents. Despite all the unfortunate, harsh and tragic experiences, Liz finds herself unable to disconnect her from her family. On the other hand, it was the failure and melancholy of her parents that leads her to build new ways for her. She never wants to end up like her mother, and for this reason, she sets aside all the resemblance and eventually becomes a Harvard graduate. Therefore, when she leaves the home, she still gets the picture of her mother with her. In short, the photograph portrays the caring and ambitious aspect of Liz’s personality and also demonstrates her close connection with her parents.
Murray, L. (2011). Breaking Night. Cornerstone.
Kellaway, K. (2011, January 30). Breaking Night by Liz Murray – review.