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How both novelists represent the experience of drug taking in

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Introduction

English Literature coursework How both novelists represent the experience of drug taking in "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson and "Junk" by Melvin Burgess "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" was written in 1886, in the Victorian era, about 30 years after Charles Darwin's "Origin of Species" was published. Darwin proved scientifically that man was descended from the apes. When Dr. Jekyll takes drugs to free the base evil aspects of his nature from the repressive influence of his conscience, he reverts to Mr. Hyde, an ape like creature who has no moral code or inhibitions. Victorian society was typically puritanical. The Puritans were a very strict, austere religious group of people who disapproved of pleasure. Many Victorians led extremely repressed lives, and their reputation for respectability was incredibly important to them. At that time moral requirements for people moderated their behaviour. Similarly in "Junk" Gemma's middle-class parents are very concerned about being respectable. However, "Junk" is set in the 1980s when society has changed a great deal from the Victorian times and is now much more permissive. Although these books were written in different centuries they both deal with the experience of drug taking and the effect drugs have on people. Stevenson came from a completely different background to Burgess. Melvin Burgess has his own experience of drug taking and he is trying to warn people of its dangers. In an interview he said that he had been offered drugs at school when he was 14 years old. Melvin Burgess knows what it is really like when people around you take drugs. Both children in Junk come from families where respectability is very important and they try to rebel against it. In both novels the characters who take drugs have weaknesses. They give in to temptations easily. In "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" there are three main reasons why Dr. ...read more.

Middle

In "Junk" both Tar and Gemma are na�ve in their own way. "I was waiting for the lights to start twinkling or something, but nothing happened, I had some more but still nothing happened." Gemma is extremely impatient. She is waiting for an immediate effect after eating the Hash cookies. That is also why she starts taking drugs. She can't waste her time studying and becoming a person and only then enjoying life. She needs it now, immediately. Heroin offers her an easy solution which she obviously likes. Some time later Gemma saw Tar but he was a bit strange "His face seemed to be stretching out and it looked as if his teeth were escaping out of his mouth and his eyes rolling around". The hash cookies begin to affect Gemma, she is having hallucinations. They also make her hungry. "I started stuffing more salad". After a while she begins to feel "horrible". "My head was still spinning faster and faster", "like someone was stirring my stomach with an electric spoon faster and faster", "things were creeping out of sight". Gemma was not "enjoying it all that much". Later on in the book after experiencing more drugs she talks differently. "Drugs are just part of life; they make you feel good they take you to another planet". Lily also talks about her coming "from another planet" so Gemma is very influenced by Lily. "Smack makes it all distant, it's not real anymore". Junk hides the reality from which characters who take drugs want to escape in both books. They do not like the real world they need an easy life without any problems. Drugs offer an easy and a weak answer, with no need for thinking. The experience that Tar gets after taking heroin is a strange one because the drug does not actually give him any particular physical feeling. Instead there is a mental sense of release from obligations and things that are pressuring him, for example his dad beating him and his parents being alcoholics. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lily was the first woman. So she is the beginning of drug taking and she makes other people be like her. Before Tar falls into his world of drug taking and sin the world is bright and beautiful. "The daffodils were still out, there were trees in bloom". "There is a big tall tree at the end of it [garden] that hangs right over the road". This passage represents Eden with a tree of knowledge. "Tar was sitting there on a milk crate by the bonfire staring up at a tree. He was crying". At this moment Tar accepts that there will be a 'fall' where he knows he will take drugs. Once Tar becomes addicted to heroin the dandelion moves over for the junk. "You never even do anything to that sodding dandelion any more." Tar used to be enthusiastic about dandelions; they symbolised a sign of affection between him Gemma. But now there is no space for dandelions just junk. Lily is presented to us as a snake. She talks like a snake, she acts like a snake and she thinks like a snake. "It might be called Smith's or Scholl's or Singh's" says Lily. The's' sound, the sibilant sound, is like hissing of a snake. In "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" Mr. Hyde "shrank back with a hissing intake of the breath". The evil part of Dr. Jekyll tempts the good part to take the drug and return to the evil part just like the snake in the Bible tempts Adam and Eve to eat the apple from the "tree of knowledge". "She smiled like a snake" when she sniffed the heroin. By the end of both of these books it is clear to the reader that in both stories, the characters have been punished for what the have done. The bible features in both of the stories as a beginning for the characters and represents their innocence. But it also features in their decent from their innocence into decadence. ...read more.

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