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Escaping Reality in English literature.

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Introduction

Brandon Pantano Bruce Fryer British Literature April 21, 2004 Escaping Reality Escaping has been the main focus of many pieces of literature. Escaping from an actual place, reality, or even one's self. In each case the person who is trying to escape is in reality escaping from some sort of underlying persecution. The idea of escaping is very comparable to many people's drug habits. The journey of finding an escape is prevalent in two major themes in Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting. In Trainspotting Welsh tells the story of a group of friends in a run down Scottish town that are addicting to heroin. Their heroin use is not only an escape from reality but also serves as a metaphor for them trying to escape from their town. Renton, the main character in Trainspotting, (Irvine Welsh) and his group of friends wander in their neighborhood causing trouble and trying to find a fix. In their lives the trains passing was a sad reminder of them being stuck. Their dream of finally escaping is very similar to another group of people from another generation, The Merry Pranksters. Ken Kesey was the founder of the pranksters. Kesey along with friends bought a 1939 International Harvest school bus. They traveled the country experimenting with acid and video taping their journey. The Pranksters were Hippies. Hippies came after Beatniks. ...read more.

Middle

This emptiness engulfs him much like the heroin that engulfs him. There was a point in the story when Renton is trying to give up heroin. He goes on to explain the steps to relinquishing heroin. He then gives himself an opium suppository for just one more hit "I've never had my finger up my own asshole before," (Welsh, 77). Renton says. "I'm vaguely nauseous" (Welsh, 78). Dr. Albert Hoffman accidentally discovered LSD-25 in 1938 in Switzerland while experimenting with ergot. Lysergic acid diethylamide is the full name for LSD and the 25 added at the end is intended to signify that it was discovered the twenty-fifth time that is was experimented. Rather than being called LAD it is called LSD because the German word for acid is saeure. LSD is commonly referred to as "acid". Some common street names for LSD are Cid, Bart Simpsons, Barrels, Tabs, Blotters, Heavenly blue, "L", Liquid, Micro-Dots, Mind Detergent, Orange Cubes, Orange Micro, Owsley, Hits, Paper Acid, Sacrament, Santos, Sugar, Sunshine, Ticket, Twenty-Five, Wedding Bells, Windowpanes, the list goes on. It is colorless, odorless and has a slightly bitter taste and is usually taken by mouth in tablet, capsule, and liquid form. The liquid form is sometimes added to absorbent paper and cut into decorative squares. LSD is the most potent mind bending chemical. Ergot, a fungus that grows on rye, has lysergic acid in it and this where LSD is contrived. ...read more.

Conclusion

"You're either on the bus...or off the bus" (Wolfe, 96) While under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs Ken Kesey wrote One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (Kesey). This story is set among the patients and workers of a mental institution. It tells the story (narrated by an inmate) of an energetic con man that seeks institutionalization as a means of escaping the pains of a prison work farm. Before long, in order to reduce the sexual and emotional impotence of the men at the institution, he began to challenge the tyrannical Nurse Ratched, irrevocably altering the destiny of those in the ward. The story is made up of series of skirmishes between McMurphy and Big Nurse. McMurphy became a hero, changing the life of the inmates, but pays dearly for his individualism. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest may have had more influence on society than society had on Kesey. Drugs to some people are an escape. To those people they feel as if that acid, heroin or any other drug would fill that emptiness. "Big, black hole like a clenched fists in the centre ay my fucking chest" (Welsh, 150). This line from Trainspotting sums up the underlying truth about addiction and drugs. Addicts use drugs to escape, to fill emptiness within, but with the consumption of more drugs the emptiness builds and builds. In the words of Sick Boy from "Trainspotting" "So, we all get old. We can't hack it anymore and that's it" (Welsh, 48). ...read more.

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