Jesus’ Son

1 January 2017

The narrator’s involvement with drugs and alcohol presents a revelation to many unusual occurrences throughout the stories. Although “Beverly Home” represents a sense of recovery as Denis Johnsons hints, but Parrish implies “he associates himself with Jesus to evoke…that his addiction to drugs will kill him young…he transcended this fate” to argue his addiction remains unresolved (Parrish, 2001).

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It’s as though the narrator addiction to drugs will always be apart of him, unable to avoid that fate, which in turns make recovery impossible. The thought of drugs and alcohol with Jesus signifies a feeling of salvation as “all lost souls, waiting eagerly or despondently for salvation” (Kakutani, C31). Various addicts use salvation, as a bridge to get closer to a relationship with Jesus, but with Johnson and the narrator an ending to his salvation is recovery. Now, in the case of the narrator still not recovered from addiction, he’s not eagerly waiting for it.

Recovery from drug addiction revolves around help “it’s always been my tendency to lie to doctors” (11), and it’s as though recovery from his state of mind is not welcomed. The fact he’s not looking for help and he was involved in a car crash goes to show he’s not eagerly waiting for salvation nor recover in the matter. Grimson portrayal of Jesus’ Son shows that the narrator “inhabits a walking dream…that wonderful sense of someone walking around in his own unconscious—you don’t want to wake him up. ” The narrator he associates himself with drug addiction by means of staying in his dream world.

In the argument of the narrator not recovered from drug addiction, he ruins he’s ability to stay in his dream world. As the narrator goes into this dream state of mind “it was turning out to be one of the best days of my life, whether it was somebody else’s dream or not” (62). Wayne clearly didn’t mention anything, but the obvious issue is that he found this dream to become worthwhile. And recovery could pose a threat to he’s drug addiction that carries he’s ability to stay in this dream state of mind.

The narrator is destined to find this “profound experience”, which “something this magnitude again demonstrates his lust for both extreme situations and exhilarating knowledge, however ugly the circumstances may be” (May, 2004). Drugs are primarily the driving force behind these extreme situations and it helps the narrator deal with unusual circumstances. In the case of the narrator not recovered, he still lust for extreme situations. “I missed my bus often, waiting to spy on the wife in the town-house apartment” (147).

The fact he lusted after this lady that drove him to spy on her as well as evade her privacy goes to show the affect of his addiction remains. The narrator used the lady and his lust for her as a void in his drug addiction. Parrish implies the narrator is “allowing himself to be overwhelmed by the pain he elsewhere tries to numb…depicts himself as one able to accept the experience of suffering as an inalienable truth” (Parrish, 2001). It’s as though he uses drugs as a sense of escape from pain or suffering from others around him.

In the case of the narrator not recovered, he uses drug addiction as a stepping-stone to combat pain and suffering. The narrator disclosed himself of anything associated that relates to suffering or pain, with a knife sticking in his eye, numb to the idea the guy might be experiencing pain “What seems to be the trouble? ” (73). With the narrator drug addiction he’s able to avoid sympathy of pain or suffering others might feel which recovery will conflict his ability to avoid such feelings.

Suffering from addiction is an illness that requires treatment, which often people are unable to quit on their own. No one overcomes it but it’s replaced by another pleasure and “the pleasure of narcotics are replaced (or displaced) by the equivalent pleasures of textuality” (Smith, 190). In the case of the narrator not being recovered, he uses the Mennonites couple as a means to replace his drug addiction. In “Beverly Home,” the narrator has combatted his addictive nature with the Mennonites couple as he mentions, “became a regular part of my routine” (147).

Even in a more bizarre instances “I was excited, I wanted to watch them ****ing” (149). The narrator is often confused as “the pathology of addiction is thus merely driven underground, desire mutating into the pursuit of signs and the gorgeous perversions of narrative” (Smith, 190). As the case of the narrator still in limbo, confusion still continues to play apart. While he states, “I was learning to live sober” (159), but “All these weirdos…a place for people like us…sometimes I heard voices muttering in my head” (160).

The narrator will continue down his path of recovery although not fully recovered, due to the fact that addiction will continually remain a part of him whether it is drugs or another alternative. As a drug addict, who’s to say the narrator is reliable in his narrative process “reassessments and adjustments that produce a shifting between the imagined and the actual” (Smith, 185). Smith suggest of his recovery is not quite there, “but I heard the bedsprings, I was sure of that” and “they’d never made it to the bed. They were standing upright” (155).

It’s as though the narrator sees the Mennonites couple as a movie scene or even a dream. In the case of the narrator not being recovered from his addiction, he uses the couple as means of revisions and imagination. Something he can mold or recreate and make the adjustment the way he so fit. Denis Johnson mixture of Jesus with drugs and alcohol became more of a revelation, “this perception became a real blessing for me…we are being looked down on, and understood, and forgiven even though we may fail” (Ironwood, Spring 1985).

It’s a sense of “understanding and forgiving his characters in a way he could not” (Donnelly, 24), but it wasn’t about whether Johnson could forgive them. The narrator hasn’t recovered; Johnson’s use of Jesus in this case is symbolic because drugs and alcohol will always be eternally associated with the narrator.

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