ROLE OF ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE NOVEL?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Shrabastee
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Re: ROLE OF ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN THE NOVEL?

Post by Shrabastee »

Jeyasivananth wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:22
In my observation addiction as a manifestation of a disturbed psyche is another important motif in the book.

Gary Robinson grows up as a helpless and powerless child unable to stop his mother’s drinking habits. Duke Reynold too extensively uses drugs to sustain himself.

An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control against helplessness. Drugs are particularly good for this purpose because they alter one's emotional state, making them feel empowered and decisive. We see this in the protagonists. Both the protagonists hail from dysfunctional families and addiction helps them to cope up with this emotional scar and helplessness.

what are your observations on this?
Both of them were troubled, yes. Addiction helped them cope, yes. However, as much as I admire your views on drugs giving a sense of empowerment to the individual, the protagonists in this book seem to use it as a means to escape the mess their life has become. At least in Gary's case, I feel that he tried to forget the "emotional scars" you mentioned. In Duke's case, however, there is physical exhaustion that needs to be taken care of as well. Anyway, once someone delves into addictive substances, I guess the initial motives do not matter much. The urge for more is probably enough to keep the cycle on.

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Post by Tobiasblackwell »

K Geisinger wrote:
10 May 2018, 07:52
Jeyasivananth wrote:
07 May 2018, 09:22
In my observation addiction as a manifestation of a disturbed psyche is another important motif in the book.

Gary Robinson grows up as a helpless and powerless child unable to stop his mother’s drinking habits. Duke Reynold too extensively uses drugs to sustain himself.

An addictive action often creates a sense of being empowered, of regaining control against helplessness. Drugs are particularly good for this purpose because they alter one's emotional state, making them feel empowered and decisive. We see this in the protagonists. Both the protagonists hail from dysfunctional families and addiction helps them to cope up with this emotional scar and helplessness.

what are your observations on this?
I think addiction is a powerful crutch to avoid feeling certain ways. Both characters had outside influences that helped convince them that addiction or illicit drugs were not that big a deal. Gary was more shocked by Duke's atheism than a high and drunk friend trying to eat a mammoth. The addiction could be viewed as a disturbed psyche, but I think it is better viewed as one of the many failings of humanity. We like things that feel good and we try to avoid pain. Some of that is good, but it can turn self destructive as well.

What I thought the author did extremely well was Duke's later rationalization that snorting methamphetamine was perfectly ok because it was medicine, but alcoholism was not.


I agree with you. Their decisions to give in to snorting methamphetamine were influenced by their upbringing and background. Had they came from a more conservative and strict family, they wouldn't even have given using drugs a second thought.

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DakotaA
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Post by DakotaA »

Addictive tendencies run in families, so it makes sense for the protags to take after their parents. It is also normalised for them, in a way, because they grew up very aware of what addiction is.
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Hiruni Bhagya 81
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Post by Hiruni Bhagya 81 »

Addictions are a way to not deal with pain and emotions temporarily. It's not permanent. So, they have to maintain their addictions in order to keep those feelings away and stop them from coming back stronger. Actually, these addictions prevent them from dealing with those emotional scars and helplessness.

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