break through in one place


Senior Member
what does "breaks through in one place" mean here? Is it an idiom?

“Havel understood that authoritarians who rely on lies to control their people are fundamentally not that different from neighborhood bullies. They’re more fragile than they look. He wrote, “The moment someone breaks through in one place, when one person cries out, ‘The emperor is naked!’—when a single person breaks the rules of the game, thus exposing it as a game—everything suddenly appears in another light.”

Source: Hillary Rodham Clinton. “What Happened.”
  • bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    It's somewhat clumsy, but I can only imagine that "breaks through" is a way of saying that they break free, even if momentarily, from the control of the authoritarians.


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    You could say, metaphorically, it's some kind of wall and when someone breaks through it (in on place) the light comes in (and suddenly everything appears in another [we would normally say "new"] light).
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