The Warmest December Essay

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The Warmest December

The Warmest December is a story of a young girl and her family as they move through an abusive past with an alcoholic man. Kenzie struggles through childhood only to find that she has started to become her father, Hy-Lo. She visits him daily and relives painful moments from her past at his bedside. The book is filled with difficult accounts of her physical and emotional abuse as she grows up. This paper will discuss the topics of recovery and forgiveness after a troubled past as it pertains to both The Warmest December and other books we have read, specifically Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Dandicat.

Recovery and forgiveness are central themes in The Warmest December. Kenzie is challenged by both and
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This is a seemingly impossible task. Della believes it is impossible. She even says, "Don't you forgive him, Kenzie, don't you dare." Della refuses to forgive Hy-Lo and is therefore resigned to her fate of living out her days on the couch with television and Pepsi. She is a contrast to her daughter in this way. She is one possible vision of the future Kenzie if she does not change. Kenzie is ready to move on, she is just not sure how. The nurse D. character helps her realize how. Kenzie finds out that her father also grew up in an abusive environment with an alcoholic parent. I think she had an idea that this was true, at least subconsciously. Something drew her to that hospital bed even before she found out, something that she could not define herself. The new knowledge gives Kenzie a new perspective on her father and his actions. What he did was wrong, that's no question, but he had a disease and she does not allow herself to let him hide behind an excuse. He wasn't able to control his drinking or his actions when he was drunk. This is evidenced by the fact that he is so passive when he is sober; the sober Hy-Lo just sits and takes it when Della yells at him and the drunken Hy-Lo beats her. It is also evidenced by Hy-Lo's actions when his mother is present. Kenzie now knows what he had gone through; she knows the grip that alcoholism can have on you as demonstrated by the scene in which she finds the vodka in the Christmas box. Kenzie, just as so many
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