Breaking Night By Liz Murray Essay

1878 Words Apr 15th, 2015 8 Pages
Breaking Night” is urban slang, specifically in the Bronx, for staying up through the night, until the sun rises (Murray 1). Liz Murray was born into the aftermath of her parents partying, hard drug using lifestyle in Bronx, New York. From a very young age, she had to learn to survive and adapt while addiction and mental illness destroyed her family. In her memoir Breaking Night, Liz takes her readers through her difficult, yet inspiring journey from being a homeless teenager to a student at the prestigious, Ivy League college, Harvard University.
Little is more daunting than being diagnosed with mental illness or observing someone you love struggling with addiction. Mental illness and addiction does not only affect the person but also the people around them who are to care for them. Before the age of nineteen, Liz lived her life submerged in both mental illness and addiction. In her memoir, she portrays the characteristics of mental illness embodied in her mother and boyfriend, Carlos. The characters not only battle mental illness but also poverty, addiction, and disease.
Liz’s mother, Jean, has schizophrenia along with a vicious cocaine addiction. Jean comes across as a tortured character who did her best as a parent, despite addiction and mental illness. She describes her mother’s illness as coming in bouts; in her memoir Liz focuses on the six bouts that her mother had in a four month period which all required for her to be institutionalized (Murray 71). Ma was in her…

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