Ice Cream by Helen Dunmore

This study guide will help you analyse the text “Ice Cream” by Helen Dunmore. The text is found in Readings, p. 83. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message, and help you put the text into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Ice Cream”
Author: Helen Dunmore
Published in: “Ice Cream” (short story collection)
Date of Publication: 2001
Genre: Short Story

Helen Dunmore (b. 1952) is a British author of poems, short stories and novels. She is mostly known for her children books, some of which also entered the British school curricula. Her literary talent has been recognised through several awards, including Orange Prize and Cardiff International Poetry Prize.


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The text presents a very stereotypical view of what is expected of women working in the fashion industry. To make it as a model, women need to either diet strictly – as Clara, who is not supposed to have any ice cream or sweets – or to take drugs and make themselves vomit what they eat – as the other two models in the text suggest. Furthermore, the way the other models talk hints at another stereotype in modelling – that models are stupid: “Tanya, who is not very clever, looks puzzled. But Julie has caught on.” (p. 85, ll. 16-17)

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Ice Cream by Helen Dunmore

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