The feeling of walking down a seemingly endless tunnel of shadows is overwhelming for a vast amount of people. The tunnel is as dark as the blackest part of night, and those individuals cannot see a shining light that represents a hopeful end to their troubles. Some experience an inability to recover from hardship or stress in their lives, while others may have a lack of self-confidence or sense of purpose. These are the people who have the hardest time seeing that light at the end of the tunnel and might do just about anything to find a way out. Nearly every individual going through a hormonal change can understand the raging war that is taking place between the characters and their inner demons in Ellen Hopkins’s novel, Impulse.
An inner demon can be defined as any internal burden that creates a conflict in one’s life. That being said, there are many demons that frequently visit the minds of the three main characters of Impulse: Conner, Tony, and Vanessa. Each are encountering teenage-related difficulties, and all of them would enjoy finding a way out of the figurative tunnel described earlier. In the article titled “Teen Depression More Common Than Many Think,” the author explains, “problems for some youngsters start before their teen years, when they experience extreme anxiety over social situations… but once puberty kicks in, the anxiety often segues into depression” (Roth), showing that it is even more difficult for a child to escape from their hardships once they reach their teenage years. Ellen Hopkins expresses what the teens in her novel are going through and what kind of thoughts they may be having by stating:
Wish you could turn off the questions, turn off the voices, turn off all sound. Yearn to close out the ugliness, close out the filthiness, close out all light. Long to cast away yesterday, cast away memory, cast away all jeopardy. Pray you could somehow stop the uncertainty, somehow stop the loathing, somehow stop the pain. Act on your impulse, swallow the bottle, cut a little deeper, put the gun to your chest. (Hopkins 3)
The author explains in her poetic writing style how a simple explanation to the teens’ problems may be reached, which is through substance abuse, physical abuse, and even attempted suicide that may all result in death. However, she is not promoting the decision to take one’s life by any means.
The novel is written in free verse, which is certainly different from any other book I have read. This means that instead of writing from one end of the page to another, the author has formed the words into distinctive paragraphs, or stanzas, that are substantially well written and cause the words to flow right along as the reader progresses throughout the story. As for the content of this piece of literature, the setting takes place during modern time in a psychiatric hospital called Aspen Springs, which is where the adolescents initially meet one other. They were placed into a rehabilitation center...