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Thomas De Quincey's Book "Confessions Of An English Opium Eater" .

1546 words - 6 pages

Diary of an AddictThomas De Quincey's, "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" is a brief history of the authors life, as well as a detailed account of the physical and psychological effects associated with eating opium. De Quincey is not only the author, but also the narrator and main character of the book. His profound knowledge of the English language makes his prose at times feel like a one-way conversation with a genius. All in all "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater" is a wonderful account of the pains and pleasures of opium, as well as exhibiting several examples of a piece of romantic literature.The author begins by providing the reader with a brief account of the early years of his life which lead him to becoming an opium-eater. After the death of his father, while still a young child, he was left to the care of four guardians. As a young teenager De Quincey eventually ran off to live on his own in London, where he met some interesting people and faced several challenges. Living as a runaway, with no source of income, De Quincey was ultimately faced with starvation, and trying to find somewhere to sleep at night. From there he goes on to chronicle the events that lead him to opium-use, as well as the people whom he met along his journey.Throughout the next two sections of the book De Quincey goes on to describe the effects of opium on him and on his life. He first goes on to explore the pleasures of opium. De Quincey first tries to nullify the notion that use of opium breeds inactivity, "with respect to the torpor supposed to follow, or rather (if we were to credit the numerous pictures of Turkish opium-eaters) to accompany the practice of opium-eating, I deny that also" (49). The author then goes on to explain how opium heightened his enjoyment of music, in particular the opera, and also how it would lead him on many walks throughout the streets of London. Upon concluding his account of the pleasures of opium, he then goes on to discuss the pains of opium, and how his now daily habit adversely affected his life. De Quincey explains how his perpetual opium use had caused him to lose interest in much of what he enjoyed as a child and scholar. Furthermore he gives an account, in great detail, of some of the dreams he constantly suffered from. These dreams are vivid, and beautifully portrayed by De Quincey in a way that cannot be summarized here.De Quincey's mastery of the English language, and his ability to write prose are second to none. Throughout the book the writing style can almost make the reader feel as if they are sitting right next to him while he tells his story. However, even though it is a relatively short work, only about eighty-six pages in this version, it is not a quick read. The authors use of Latin, and Greek within the text, coupled with an abundance of large and obscure words will leave the average reader in a state of utter confusion. De Quincey's use of comma's, semicolon's, and colon's produce some very long and...

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