Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ann & Images of Opium

As I read "Confessions of an English Opium Eater," I was really interested in the girl he met in London. His relationship to Ann was really special even though she was a prostitute. He understood her situation and was sympathetic. "For many weeks, I had walked at night with this poor friendless girl up and down Oxford Street or had rested with her on steps and under the shelter of porticos..." (page 50) After he heard her story, he encouraged her to seek legal aid. I was surprised at his closeness to her and the emotional aspect of their parting. It was hard for him to leave but he wasn't as attached to her as she was to him. He was hopeful and somewhat cheerful but it was much harder for her. "I had, apparently, most reason for dejection, because I was leaving the saviour of my life: yet I, considering the shock of my health had received, was cheerful and full of hope. She on the contrary, who was parting with one how had little means of serving her, except by kindness and brotherly treatment, was overcome by sorrow..." (page 57) She never returns in the story except when he realizes that he never got her surname but I think the reader is touched by her kindness to him. They are both reaching out to each other in their different, yet similar situations. I'm still thinking about the complete significance of her character and what affect she had on him but she stood out to me as I read this. I can see the obvious ideas but I think there is more underneath even though I haven't completely figured it out yet!!

Since this account focuses on opium, I remember that William Wilberforce also had the intense stomach pains and took this drug to take some of the pain away. I pictured the images from Amazing Grace and that suffering gave me a better idea of what Dequincey went through. It was interesting to read the complexity between the pleasures and pains of it and how it affected his mind. It gives me a greater understanding of men like Wilberforce and how important it is that they overcame this problem.

1 comment:

  1. Like we said in class, I thought it was really interesting that Dequincey ascribes so much significance to her several pages after they say goodbye. I felt like his friendship with Ann was the closest he came to having an authentic relationship with someone. This brush with reality becomes enormously important as he falls farther away from the real world.

    One thing that just struck me was that this scene of departure reminds me slightly of Dequincey's departure from school, where he talks about parting being much sadder when you know its the last time. I wonder if Ann knew she was saying goodbye for the last time, and I wonder if Dequincey's regret is connected to this realization that he would not see her again.