Wednesday, September 28, 2011
From my understanding the author was explaining how people have a naive belief that their love can change a person’s bad habits, not realizing that this is a disease. Like most people by the time they realize the faults of the person that they are with their love has confused and blinded their judgments. He talks about how they try to hold on to the hope that the person they fell in love with will come back to them and stay. Unfortunately you only get glimpses of what could be and then brought back to reality by what lies in front of them.
“The secret bores under the skin, gets into the blood, into the bone, and stays there.”(pg 195) The author describes his father’s alcoholism as having to keep it a secret but it will stay with you forever in the memories and is a part of him. The writer tried to convey that alcoholism or diseases like it were not spoken of when he was a child to others. The alcoholism as he vividly describes changed his father from a fun loving guy into a mean and nasty person. The author wants to use the story to share with others that have to endure this that they are not alone. Also he wants those same people to not blame themselves for the alcoholic’s choices because it is for whatever reason their choice to drink. He spoke of trying to be the best he could be but the thing was that no matter how much he excelled his father got worse and he realized that his dad had the problem. I learned from the author that unfortunately there is nothing you yourself can do for an alcoholic. I felt very sorry for the author but realized that he learned what his own limits were with alcohol and did not cross that line because he saw what happened to his father.
about 6th grade, not the same one, I have multiple ones. I also won 3rd place in the WSOP
tournament. Ta daa.
“…drunkards would not inherit the kingdom of God…Eleventh Commandment: Thou Shalt not drink.” (pg 197)
I landed on this quote because when I read it, I was struck with the eternal passive
meaning. That to me is very strong and powerful. Eternal, forever, non-ending, infinity, is what
comes to my mind. For his father being an alcoholic bought him a spot in hell. For myself, a
believer of God, when I am informed of being a compulsive drinker will not inherit the kingdom
of God is certainly and strong statement. Not only would their life here on earth be wasted but
also forever in hell. That is exactly what happened to the narrator’s father. Now I am not here
saying he is in hell for sure, but the way the narrator made it sound, his father has a slim chance
not to be. Being sober for 15 years, what a great feat for someone in his father’s shoes after
drinking day after day. But after retirement, he fell right back into the drinking, the non-stop
indulging of alcohol. This is a terribly sad story because not only is this true, but also because it
happens to many other children to. The narrator’s childhood was virtually flipped around
compared to the society “normal” childhood. He lived in fear of his father, when I, myself have a
father as a best friend. Another thing about the narrator was, he made the best out of what he
had. What a great trait to have. He learned from his childhood rather than follow in his father’s
footsteps, which could have easily happened.
To sum how truly powerful this story is in about a page of writing is not worthy. But I
think it is safe to safe we all can agree after reading a story like this, it makes you take a step
back and look at your own life. Look at your own life and appreciate what you have, and what
you have been blessed with, worked for, and strive for.
“I no longer fancied I could reason with the men whose names I found on the bottles” I found this line to be a little closer to home than I would have liked it to be. The Author says earlier that he wanted to blame the people who made the alcohol and I can understand where he is coming from. You really do want to hate those names on the labels and it’s hard to think rationally that Mr. Jack Daniels and Mr. Jim Beam don’t really exist.
The fact that he is writing this also struck me pretty strong because he can see himself toeing the same line his father did by being a workaholic instead of a alcoholic and laying burdens on his own son while unintentionally the same way his own father did.
One line from Under the Influence that I found particularly meaningful was the line, “Unlike the biblical swine, however, he left behind a few of the demons to haunt his children.” I think that line sums up what a lot of the essay is about. I think the author wants to share his experiences with his father’s alcoholism as a way to show why he acts and feels the way he does about alcohol as well as his own compulsion to work hard. Also, he wants to tell his story to his son, so his son can better understand his father. What really struck me about this essay was how much guilt the author felt, even after he had learned about alcoholism. When visiting his parents as an adult, instead of going in with a clear cut explanation of why his father drinks, he reverted to his childhood mentality of what was going on. This essay really shows what it is like to be the child of an alcoholic, and I found that very interesting.
“When Father was drinking, the house, too, became a minefield. The least bump could set off either parent.” This quote from page 195 was a very powerful metaphor showing what the author had to deal with as a child. Parents are supposed to be protection for children, and with this statement, readers can clearly see that his home life was not a safe environment. I believe he writes this story because he wants to show people the damage alcohol can cause. He has been so afraid to talk about what he has gone through for so long that he must write about it to help himself cope. Writing about what happened to him seems to be the only way for him to get rid of the burden he feels over himself. His honesty is what struck me most. He expresses exactly what he feels about everything he puts in this piece. Usually people take the same ideas as his mother about any type of abuse; if you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t seem to exist. I think it is good that he opens up and tells everything so others can see the effects just one person's alcohol abuse can effect so many others.
Hello, fellow bloggers!
My name is Megan Stultz and I am a sophomore here at OSU. My intended major is in Welding Engineering, so I have about four more years here. I listen to hard rock, metal, and sometimes classic rock. I enjoy reading “beach reads” and autobiographies, especially about people in the music industry and athletes. One of my favorite books is GIMP by Mark Zupan. Along with going to school, I work at Papa Murphy’s in Marysville and also here at the Alber Student Center for Outdoor Pursuits. In any free time I have, I train for sports and see movies with friends. I’ve been inline speed skating for about 10 years now. My favorite movies are comedies and horror.
One part of Under the Influence by Scott Russell Sanders that stuck out the most to me was when he was talking about how he felt the need to be perfect and “[his] achievement would distract the world’s eyes from his[father’s] humiliation” (203). The fact that he felt so guiltyabout his father’s drinking and that he needed to take the blame for it is really sad. Also, when he feels that it was his fault for not being able to “cure” him or make his father feel well enough to quit drinking stuck out to me.
To go along with what I previously stated, when the author wrote that his son was feeling the same way about him as the author did about his father stood out in the story also. The author never meant for the burden to be passed to his child, but by compensating for how his father was while he was growing up, the author’s son became guilty that his father’s workaholism and sadness is his fault. I believe that the author shared this very personal story so that his son could be told that the sadness he felt was not due to him but his father.
My name is Stephen. I’m a freshman this year, and I live in Mechanicsburg, Ohio. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life. I have three sisters and one brother. Like Matt said in my introduction, my favorite band is Thousand Foot Krutch. I enjoy playing guitar, basketball, and backpacking and camping.
“In Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which opens famously with Gregor Samsa waking up from uneasy dreams to find himself transformed into an insect, Gregor’s family keep reassuring themselves that things will be just fine again “when he comes back to us.” Each time aclohol transformed our father we held out the same hope, that he would really and truly come back to us, our authentic father, the tender and playful and competent man, and then all things would be fine. We had grounds for such hope. After his tearful departures and chapfallen returns, he would sometimes go weeks, evenmonths, without drinking. Those were glad times. Every day without the furtive glint of bottles, every meal without a fight, every bedtime without sobs encouraged us to believe that such bliss might go on forever.”
I think Scott Russel Sanders told this story in writing because he couldn’t tell it any other way. He says numerous times in the narrative that he didn’t talk about his father’s addiction to anyone except his wife. They didn’t even talk about it within their family. Sanders felt that writing would be the easiest way to tell his story. He told the story to try to stop the same thing from happening to other families; so that alcoholics could see how they are affecting their families.
What struck me the most about Sanders’ writing was the plaintive tone he used. It was almost as if he was begging the reader to stay away from alcohol. Because he took most of his examples from when he was a child, I could feel his emotions during the story. His dissapointment when his father kept drinking, his hope when his father stopped at various times, it all seemed very real to me. Even though I don’t have the same issues with my father, I can still understand how he feels about his father drinking.
One other thing that stuck out to me is the fact that Sanders’ father would hide his alcohol. Not just because his wife disapproved, but I think because he knew deep down that all the drinking was bad. He tried to hide it, even though his whole family knew. Why would he bother to hide it if he didn’t feel guilty about it?
“When drunk, our father was clearly in his wrong mind. He became a stanger… he was possessed by demons.” At this part of the story, Scott is telling how his father is a totally different person when he is drunk and in the next paragraph he explains how no one could help him so he had to do something to try to help him, “I could not excuse myself.” He shared this because him and his siblings never knew which father would come home each day, either a drunk or a "tender and playful and competent man." They never wanted him to come home drunk because was a stanger to them when he was drinking. he wasnt himself. Scott blamed himself for his father being a drunk because he thought he disappointed him somehow so he felt like he had to help his father. Near the end of the passage, he talks about how his son feels responsible for his father being sad. “I write, therefore, to drag into the light what eats at me—the fear, the guilt, the shame—so that my own children may be spared.” He doesn’t want his children to suffer the things he had to while he was a child. The thing that stuck me the most in this story was how after 15 years being sober, he took a drink to retirement and became a drunk for the rest of his life. After so long, it wouldn’t be worth it to drink over something so small if there was a chance you were risking your life. It shocked me that his father became a drunk after 15 years of being sober and when he knew he was risking his life.
My name is Aaron Clemans. I Went to Olentangy Orange High School and have a twin brother. My favorite band is Breaking Benjamin although they just recently broke up. I am currently exploring for a major at Marion, and have taken a class to help my efforts.
It was an answer to prayer, mother said, it was a, miracle.
Everything was going great for 15 years, as everyone thought he was done drinking. But things happened, including retirement celebration, and his father began to drink again. The author wrote about this story in his life to directly show where he has come from and what he has learned. I was taken back when I read the description of his father swallowing the amber colored alcohol at the retirement party. When I read how many of his family believed in God, I began to think there would be a bright ending to the text, but that wasn’t the case. The author really showed me how to deal with a challenging issue inside ones own family.
I am Emily Doerle, the “o” is silent when you say my last name. I used to race horses before college and my favorite band is Tenth Avenue North. I live in Upper Sandusky and I work at Lowe’s in Marion. I graduated from Carey High School and my favorite books are the Eragon series.
“The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
Such waltzing was hard, terribly hard, for with a boy’s scrawny arms I was trying to hold my tipsy father upright.” I believe this writer put this particular poem in his story so we could actually realize it is not easy living with an alcoholic. I believe it describes how the writer was trying so hard to be strong for his father and taking the responsibility of his father’s drinking problems into his own hands. The writer hangs on to his father like a leach to someone’s skin. He wanted a father that cared and loved him, the only time he got that love back is when his father wasn’t drunk. What struck me the most was how though out the writer’s life he strived for one thing to be the best son he could possibly be. The writer strived to be perfect whatever the cost may be. In the story the writer said that when he was in baseball and he pitch a ball, his father would yell at the umpire for calling it a ball instead of a strike so the writer would pitch only strikes. That just shows you the loyalty the writer had to his father, he wanted to make him the happiest man alive but knew he couldn’t because the alcoholism burned in his father’s veins like venom that never leaves, burning until it finally kills his father.
My name is Carolyn Updegraff, and I’m from Hominy Oklahoma. I went to high school at Upper Arlington High School in Columbus, Ohio. I’m the youngest and only girl in my family, with two older brothers. My intended major is nursing, but I want to minor in some form of creative writing.
“I hated the Gallo brothers, Ernest and Julio, whose jovial faces beamed from the labels of their wine…I meant to go out there and tell Ernest and Julio what they were doing to my father, and then, if they showed no mercy, I would kill them” (p.196). Under the Influence: Paying the Price of My Father’s Booze, by Scott Russell Sanders, is the most moving short story I’ve ever read. Scott Sanders relived his father’s struggles with alcoholism, and wrote of his own personal struggles that surfaced as a result of it. He described himself as a workaholic, who dove into his writing as a way to escape the shame and responsibility he felt for his dad’s alcoholism. Scott’s constant work led to his own son feeling the same since of helpless that Scott had felt towards his father, which is what led Sanders to write the short story. Sanders felt that if he wrote about his father’s alcoholism and all the turmoil is unleashed on him as a kid, it will “light what eats at (him)… so that (his) own children may be spared” (p. 203). That is a pretty admirable reason to write such a personal story.
The thing that struck me most about Sander’s writing was all his one liners. For example, when he compared his father’s personality change from sobriety to intoxicated as a “grisly metamorphoses” like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” or when he described his neighbor as “high on the bible, and the bible was hard on drunkards” (p. 197 & 198). These one liners kind of jump out at the reader and are very memorable. I also liked how he wove the characterization throughout the whole story. He didn’t just have one paragraph that described his father or his own personality. Instead, he gave you little bits and pieces as you read, so that the picture of the father grows and clarifies as you read along. It almost made you feel like you were living through the memories with Sanders, and each memory cropped up a new side of his father or a new side of Sander’s, himself.
2--The writer shared this essay to help cope with depression that was not only affecting himself, but his family and friends. His children are what brought it to his attention.
The most memorable passage was in paragraph 52 "I still notice every twitch of emotion in those faces around me, having learned as a child to read the weather in faces, and I blame myself for their least pang of unhappiness of anger. In certain moods I blamed myself for everything. Guilt burns like acid in my veins." It's clear that the author of this short story feels guilty and responsible for his father's disease even though he was a small child at the time, he holds himself responsible although he is now an adult and should see it was way out of his control. I think some people can relate to this because we all have at least one situation where we have an emotion that we feel is wrong, but it almost seems out of our control.
“I am moved to write these pages now because my own son, at the age of ten, is taking on himself the griefs of the world, and in particular the griefs of his father. He tells me that when I am gripped by sadness, he feels responsible; he feels there must be something he can do to spring me from depression, to fix my life and that crushing sense of responsibility is exactly what I felt at the age of ten in the face of my father’s drinking.”
This quote struck me in a lot of ways. It shows how he felt responsible for his father’s drinking problem, and how he thought if he could change things he would be able to fix all his father’s problems. It has caused him to remain depressed about the situation, which in turn causes his son to think he is the cause of his father’s depression. The fact that the authors father’s drinking had an effect on not only his life, but his sons, and potentially further generations, lives stood out as well. Most people think one event, or series of events, have a short term, mild effect, but this is a great demonstration of how false this thought can be. I think the author writing about this, and realizing what was occurring, was his way of attempting to break the vicious cycle that his father’s drinking has caused. I feel his main purpose for writing this paragraph, and this whole story for that matter, was to try to prevent further generations in his family from feeling the burden him and his son felt.
“Such waltzing was hard, terribly hard, for with a boy’s scrawny arms I was trying to hold my tipsy father upright.” This quote describes the author’s struggle throughout his life with his father’s alcohol addiction. This essay had a very strong emotional message within it. It is a touchy subject for the author, because it was he who experienced such things mentioned in the essay. These things included witnessing verbal abuse to his mother from his father, seeing his father in a furious rage sometimes when he came home drunk, chugging down booze whenever he could, etc. I believe the author shared this personal story because he wanted to explain himself and what he went through. Also, maybe he wanted to reach out to people who are or have been in similar situations and let them understand that he knows what they are going through or have endured in their lifetime. The thing that struck me most interesting about this writing is that the author remembers so much and in great detail of what he endured. He specifically remembers about stories he learned in church, specifically the story about the possessed man and the hogs. That shows me that what he went through was so emotionally hard on him and he remembered it so well, it’s as if it was burned into his memory.
"We never knew which version of father would come home from work, true or the tainted, nor could we guess how far down the slope toward cruelty he would slide." I think this quote perfectly illustrates what is like to have a drunk in the family. You just never know how they will act or what version of themselves you will get to see that day. I think he wrote this personal story to share his struggles with people and perhaps give others a person to relate with. He is not alone in his struggle but he had to learn that, as many other children of alcoholics have to learn. I also think it was a way to deal with what he had gone through while growing up. Though the pain will always be there, i think writing this put some ease to it. What struck me most about his writing is how we now know exactly what thoughts and feelings a person would go through having been in this type of situation. The author shared very personal feelings with us and that was very interesting.
My name is Eric Lo, I am from Powell Ohio and I enjoy Art. I was born in Hawaii, I am 18 years old and I graduated from Olentangy Liberty HS. I have three sisters and I still live at home with my parents. I am attending OSUm in hopes of moving to main campus and majoring in Graphic Design. I listen to all different varies of music, and reading is not a strength of mine because it's boring to me, however I do enjoy writing.
"Father swigged one of them right there at the counter, stuffed the other in his pocket, and then out he came, a bulge in his coat, a flustered look on his reddened face." I think that the author is surfacing his fears because it is something that is always on his mind. Writing about what makes us uncomfortable actually makes it more bearable to deal with. The vivid detail and unwillingness to hold back anything from the reader is what I got to enjoy the most from this author. He tell the story like it is and doesn't beat around the bush. Straight to the hard, cold facts of living with an alcoholic. He speaks of not only his inner thoughts, but also the destructive life that his father lived. Not holding anything back, and laying everything out on the table for the reader was the main thing that kept me reading. "...When drunk, our father was clearly in his wrong mind. He became a stranger, as fearful to us as any graveyard lunatic, not quite frothing at the mouth but fierce enough, quick-tempered, explosive; or else he grew maudlin and weepy, which frightened us nearly as much...Maybe, like the lunatic, he was possessed by demons." This is his own father that he is describing. I know I love my mother as much as I can love another person, and it would take more then the passing of my father, in 2004, to separate the two of us. The things that, as children, they saw must have made such a big impact on them at their early age that it actually started to degrade their thoughts on their own father.