Under the Influence by Scott Russell Sanders

Length: 3 Pages 707 Words

In the essay “Under the Influence,” Scott Russell Sanders uses metaphors and comparisons to describe his father’s drinking, and the connection of his excessive working and compares those two addictions. First, he talks in detail about his father’s excessive abuse of alcohol, emphasizing the transformation of this father every time he had a drink. Sander’s own daughter felt that he, too, housed an addiction, and eventually gave him a placard labeling him a “workaholic”. One of the metaphors in which Sanders illustrates his father’s compulsive consumption of alcohol in this passage, “I use the past tense not because he never quit drinking but because he quit living” (138). In this example, Sanders is emphasizing how the alcoholism that his father faced began to ruin his life, and became a necessary means of living. He forgot how to live without being intoxicated. Life was no longer enjoyable, but instead was a turbulent wave that crashed each time he gave in to the booze. Sander’s use of figurative language to d Continue...

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His poor mother had to pick up after his father more than she had to pick up after him. This comparison shows how ugly addiction can be, and makes the readers realize that no addiction is healthy, and they both have long-term effects on family life. Sanders could tell that his father drank entirely too much, even as a small child because of the care that he lacked. escribe his father's drinking is successful in demonstrating to the reader the terror that can be of his fathers alcoholism, "Shaking her head out mother stubs out the cigarette he has left smoking in the ash try (138), is illustrate how his father was very irresponsible and pitiful without even realizing it. For instance, in a trail of thought, Sanders writes: "I tell myself he drinks to ease an ache that gnaws at his belly, one I must have caused by disappointing him somehow...I should be able to relieve it by doing all my chores, earning A's in school, winning baseball games, fixing the broken washer, and bringing money to fill his empty wallet (139). Uncertain and scared to face his father after a day of work, as a child Sanders already knew too much about the uglier pieces of life. Each and every time his father would arrive home under the influence, all his family wanted for him was to go back to being the way that they remembered him as: tender, loving, even playful with them. Although he never laid a hand on his wife (139), he was very dependent on her, and rarely treated her with any sign of respect or love. Loss of control plays a central theme in this essay as well. This in itself is never healthy for children to witness, because it breeds self-hatred and feeling of shame and guilt in them, which will haunt them the rest of their lives. Hyde (143), these allusions describe how the alcohol would seem to transform his father. Children that grow up in homes such as these usually tend to feel like there is always something missing in their lives, and they are forever seeking to quench this emptiness, which grows and tears apart their insides. Sanders tells of times he felt his father, is like a seething stranger, he would more often times come home quick-tempered, fiery, and fierce.