Under the Influence

9 September 2016

Father Rossi Semester: spring 2013 Course: Journal writing Date: March, 21st 2013 “Under the Influence” By Scott Russell Sanders In the essay “Under the Influence,” Scott Russell Sanders speaks of his father heavy drinking of alcohol. He starts by saying “my father drank. I used the past tense not because he ever quit drinking but because he quit living. ” (pg1) The memory of his father compulsive drinking did not just affect just Mr. Sanders but his brother, sister, as well as his mother.

The story continues as long as memories hold. He remembers clearly as a child sneaking into the garage or barn an witnessing his father drinking from flat green bottles of wine, brown whiskey bottles, and can of beers disguised in brown paper bags. Mr. Sanders continue by saying it was very easy to determine when his father was under the influence of alcohol and when he was sober. He would be dishonest and abusive (verbally). He would hide the bottle or can in his jacket and acted normal.

Under the Influence Essay Example

He would try to be sarcastic and say things like “What’s up body? ” he says, thick-tongued and edgy. “Sky’s up,” I answer playing along. “And don’t forget prices,” he grumbles. “Prices are always up. And taxes. ”(pg1) Sander recall his dad’s several accidents be it with his white 1951 Pontiac, or the Robin egg blue pickup, or is it the 1963 Rambler, or the 1956 station wagon or is it the 1969 Bonneville. He always seems to interrupt our games as walks unbalanced towards the house.

He then throws himself into his over stuffed chair and sleep. “Shaking her head mother stubs out the cigarette he has left smoldering in the ashtray. ” My siblings and I tiptoe pass him all night before our bedtime and hear him snore loudly. We were very fearful while lying in bed; we can hear the arguments between our parents. Mother is yelling and he is growling. Mother returned to their room, mourning because of the unkind words that came from his mouth. He later describes of the mix emotions he has towards his father.

He loves him, yet hates him. He is also fearful of him. Mr. Sanders blame himself. If I do all my chores, earn A’s in school, fix the broken washer and burst pipes, or bring money home to fill his empty wallet . He would not indulge himself in alcohol and drink till death. “If only I were perfect”. (pg2) In conclusion my sanders being a forty-two year old man now realizes that his father was an alcoholic, “a man consumed by a disease rather than disappointment”(pg2) He also stated that what have seemed to be a private grief was a public.

He made reference that in the United States alone has at least ten or fifteen million people who share his father mild sickness and how they reacted behind closed doors. My sanders comforted himself with this knowledge, “holding it against the throb of memory like an ice pack against a bruise”{pg2) He wanted to understand the bitter mixtures of emotions of helplessness, responsibility, and the shame that he learned to feel by just being the son of an alcoholic.

He now acknowledges that he was not the reason or the cause of his fathers’ illness, neither could he cure him. He continues by say “ yet for all this grown-up knowledge, I am still a ten years old, my son’s age, and as that boy I struggle in quilt and confusion to save my father from pain”. (pg2) Living with his alcoholic father ruined his childhood life. But has now being able to move on with his life as an adult.

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