It is almost fair to say that Ice has no characters. Certainly it is never clear how many there are. The girl’s husband appears to vanish after the first two chapters, but his threatening behavior in those is so like that of the warden later on that it is tempting to identify them especially as the warden reappears so often in different roles, places, and uniforms, always picked out, however, by his flashing blue eyes. Furthermore, as the novel progresses, the narrator becomes more and more uneasily aware that he and the warden are like each other, are perhaps identical twins. One cannot avoid the thought that they represent different fractions of the self, as it were an ego and an alter ego. Having gone so far and remembering that the author of the book is female one could even continue the thought and suggest that all the characters are fragments of one personality, the action of Ice taking place entirely in the mind.
Whether that is so, the following points can be made. There is something infantile about the girl. Though she is always perceived sexually, her thinness and paleness are insisted on to the point of morbidity. She is also until the very end invariably a victim, crushed by the men, trapped within walls of ice. She represents something thwarted but never quite destroyed; the “real me,” perhaps, the person one knows one might ideally have been. The narrator always tries to free and rescue this persona but almost always...
(The entire section is 419 words.)