WRT 07.05.07 Analytical Paper

WRT 07.05.07 Analytical Paper - 105852335 105852335 T...

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105852335 _ 105852335 T. Slankard WRT 102.37 7 May 2007 Child vs. Man in “Under the Influence”` In “Under the Influence,” Scott Russell Sanders delves into his memories in order to try to understand his father’s addiction; through this analysis, he might come to understand his own character and his own addictions. Sanders uses raw, blunt language to recount his memories, yet, conversely, he also packs the text with metaphors, symbolism, and comparisons, which serve almost as euphemisms. This contrast arises from his speaking as both an adult and as a child. As an adult, looking back on his childhood, Sanders is able to speak candidly because he has been educated about his father’s problem. However, Sanders experienced his father’s alcoholism as a child, and must communicate with that part of himself, because he can never leave it behind: “Yet for all this grown-up knowledge, I am still ten years old” (59). Children do not interpret things that they hear the way adults do. It is partly because of their imaginations, and partly because they lack the required knowledge. Many times they pick up random bits of conversation with unfamiliar words and phrases, and are left to figure out for themselves what exactly is meant. Sanders was no exception. His inclusion of Bible stories he heard as a child is important, because they explain more clearly what the child Sanders thought, and why, and also what situation he and his family were in. In his neighborhood, the only sources of help were the church and the Bible. The Bible, however, was “hard on drunkards” (62) and the church was no 1
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105852335 _ less condemning. Obviously the church would be of no help; it just served to make Sanders frightened for his father. Hearing liquor called “spirits” and “demon drink,” what could Sanders think but that his father actually was imbibing in essence of demon? With ministers quoting that “drunkards would not inherit the kingdom of God,” only Sanders was left to “exorcise,” “save,” “cure,” and “ease [his father’s] pain” (63). For children, who dream that they can defy gravity and fly, surely nothing is impossible. Sanders cannot let go of the “child inside,” because his childhood was defined by
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This note was uploaded on 10/13/2008 for the course WRT 101 taught by Professor Tousey during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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WRT 07.05.07 Analytical Paper - 105852335 105852335 T...

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