Confessions Of An English Opium-Eater Summary

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The Artificial Life of an Opium Eater During ancient times, opium was used with poison hemlock to quickly put a person to death and also used as a medicine (narcotic). It is described as the most powerful “herb” of its time. By utilizing strong imagery, syntax, and vivid diction, Thomas DeQuincey creates a short narrative, “Confessions of an English Opium- Eater,” illustrating his artificial life on opium. While on opium, DeQuincey experiences unusual dreams. In these dreams he visualizes abnormal panoramas. He first describes them as “Oriental dreams.” This begins the reader’s initial image of DeQuincey’s story. He then says that these dreams are “physical horror[s],” and “moral and spiritual terrors.” The image of these dreams sets a taunting tone to the rest of the story. This allows the reader to better comprehend the overall state of mind of Thomas…show more content…
Throughout the story he stresses the subject of “time.” Polysyndeton is used to give the sense of inpatients Dequincey feels. A phrase in particular, “ugly birds, or snakes, or crocodiles,” resembles a lengthened tome. This reveals to the reader the prolonged feeling opium has on DeQuincey. DeQuincey contradicts the polysyndeton with asyndeton. He inserts abrupt phrases like “[a]ll the feet of the tables, sofa, etc.,” corresponds with DeQuincey’s urgency to transgress the addiction. His hasty language places emphasis on the meaning of time to DeQuincey. Juxtaposition generates a contradiction between DeQuincey during his illusive dreams and once he finally awakens. He says, “I protest that so awful was the transition from the damned crocodile and the other utterable monsters and abortions of my dreams to the sight of innocent human nature.” The monsters are juxtaposed to the innocence of “human nature.” The various syntax highlight DeQuincey’s mood and tone set throughout the

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