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Post 8: Addiction Description

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 7:45 am on Thursday, October 7, 2010

Lee and Sanders both write about addiction, one from a personal point of view and another from a point of view of a child. The two essays were about two different addictions, smoking and drinking. In my opinion, Sanders’ essay was more successful because it showed how one person’s addiction can affect so many others. Lee just talks about himself as a smoker, and how he dealt with the public smoking ban. I didn’t think it was such a big deal, and throughout his writing, it didn’t seem like a huge matter to him either. However, I liked his comparison of a cigarette to a lover, because throughout the story he does not mention anything about family, just a few friends. “Poets have compared the cigarette to a lover. They say it fires up the senses and unleashes a forbidden pleaser…” (140). For Lee, smoking was just a part of his routine, his everyday life. He’d been doing it since his junior year of high school, but it only affected him, and the ban affected him (and his fellow smokers), no one else. In Sanders’ essay, his father’s addiction with alcohol not only affected him, but also his wife and children, one of which was Scott Russell Sanders. One of the many powerful lines I still remember from Sanders is, “he never quit drinking but because he quit living” (596). Sanders’ essay has deep description and details, and personally he touched my heart because I was able to relate to almost every aspect of the essay. My father was also an alcoholic and I myself would lie in bed at nights “hating him, loving him, fearing him, knowing I have failed him…” and would sometimes also think that if things were different, perhaps I was different, then he “would not drink himself to death, if only I were perfect” (597). Despite the fact that this essay was longer than Lee’s essay, it took me a much longer time to read it because it was so close to my heart, I read parts over and over again to refresh my not so pleasant memories. Just like Sanders’ realization that he was not the cause behind his father’s illness of being an alcoholic, I also came into that realization with my father but much later. About a year and half ago (Jan 2009) when my father finally quit drinking for good, he explained to us that it was something he had put himself into as a relief of stress, and it just got carried away. When my father came back from the jaws of death in 2000, after surviving two heart attacks, he had promised us he would stop smoking and drinking. He stuck to one, but not the other and resumed drinking about a year later again. To many aspects I was able to relate to Sanders’ piece and felt it was more successful in getting across what he was trying to say. Sanders’ essay also has a gradual change in setting, as he speaks from the past coming to the present, which adds a special aspect to the story. He speaks from a child’s point of view, and then he speaks from a father’s point of view.  He also compares himself to his father. His father was addicted to drinking, and he is addicted to working (which is not as dangerous and deadly as drinking, but not good either). I would have to see Lee had a more difficult time explaining his views because you don’t really see yourself a well as others do. Sanders viewed his father’s actions and wrote about that, but if his father had wrote about his alcohol issue it wouldn’t have appealed to us as much.  The sympathy went more towards Sanders because obviously he is writing this as a child’s point of view and that is always sympathetic. However, what I said about observing someone is more detailed than that someone just writing about himself, so we get more out of Sanders’ than Lee’s.

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1 Comment



October 7, 2010 @ 12:06 pm

Thanks, Bipasha, for sharing some of your own personal experience. I liked your clear-sighted and honest writing in this post.

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