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How would you explain this sentence?

Over the next few weeks I started to get the impression he was avoiding me. There wasn’t any particular thing that made me curious at first. He was aloof on patrol, which happened from time to time. When I saw him on the FOB, he would act as if he were in a hurry, or he’d turn his back to me when I tried to catch up to him, casting down his eyes when we’d make contact. But you give a guy a break at times like those. Shit, it wasn’t but a year or so since he’d spent the better part of his life buried in that goddamn mine he was always talking about. “Shipp Mountain,” he’d say, “now that’s a bitch. We’d go down in, three, four o’clock in the morning, laying on this cart and I’d just lay back and look up and think the whole world’s a couple feet above me, just looking for a seam to let loose and bust me into nothing…

How would you explain this sentence: But you give a guy a break at times like those? What role does this sentence perform in the whole sentence?
Thanks!

Additional Details:

Sorry, I made a mistake. The real question is:What role does this sentence perform in the whole passage?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    In the opening paragraph, the author listed a litany of strange behaviors displayed by the person he is talking about (let's call him 'Mr. A' since we don't have a name). I am assuming from context that the two used to be close friends and acted normally as two friends would when they run into each other. Instead, Mr. A started avoiding the speaker by taking actions that purposely tried to prevent contact between the two. And I am guessing from context that something bad had happened to Mr. A. So the author, said, under the circumstances, you'd give Mr. A a break (i.e., go easy on him, be accepting of his unfriendly behavior) given whatever ill circumstance had befallen Mr. A. In other words, the speaker is simply trying to rationalize and be accepting of Mr. A's avoidance behavior.

     

    But you give a guy a break at times like those.

    To give someone a break - means to be understanding or accepting of their actions. Or to ask a little less of them.

    Mother: Why haven't you cleaned your room, And you need to tidy the house, finish your homework, and then do the washing up
    Son: Give me a break, I've been at school all day

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