Addiction In Jesus'son Research Paper

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Compassion and Desperation in Jesus’ Son Addiction in America is a much maligned and misunderstood tragedy. Some understand it as a personal failing while others approach it as an epidemic that is gripping the nation. In either case, addiction is one of the most destructive forces a person can endure and those who suffer with it are often reduced to their basest components in search of prolonging their dependence on drugs and alcohol. Denis Johnson tackles substance abuse and addiction in Jesus’ Son, an anthology of short stories that follow protagonists’ struggle with their habits and how they treat people as a result of it. Addiction pushes Johnson’s characters to the extreme limits of desperation as they seek out any means of continuing…show more content…
The rambling and often disjointed means of storytelling throughout the anthology is somehow reflective of the scattered and often unorganized thought process of those addicted to drugs (as the narrators always are). The confusing nature of the narrative work demonstrates the ways in which addiction is selfish and those who communicate while addicted are desperate to be heard even though their trains of thought are hard to follow. Consider the protagonist of “Car Crash While Hitchhiking” whose account of travelling from car to car until his accident derailed his life (Johnson, 5). “Hitchhiking’s” narrator has had their entire life uprooted by drug abuse and must now travel from location to location as a homeless vagabond relying on the kindness of strangers (Johnson, 6). The desperation he feels to press on and continue feeding his high is what ultimately ends in a car accident that kills a father and lands him in a mental institution (Johnson, 10). This desperation is mirrored in the story of the narrator in “Out on Bail” (Johnson, 28) who falls into a similar desperate pattern of self-destruction and abuse as they are released from prison. A man struggling with addiction, the narrator of “Out on Bail” continues criminal behaviors such as stealing in order to continue to get high in whatever way he can (Johnson, 34). Despite being free of his criminal past, he is compelled to continue to seek out methods of getting high and continuing a bleak and desperate existence and compromises his moral values in an attempt to chase the next high. Through these narrators, Johnson explores the ways in which addiction drives people to extreme and desperate measures to continue the lives they have been forced to lead by their addiction. But though

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