Continuing on the theme of dream-like experiences, Requiem for a Dream describes the majestic sensation the group of friends feel while high on drugs: “They luxuriated in a feeling of deep and all pervading satisfaction, a feeling of knowing absolutely that all was well with the world and them and that the world was not only their oyster it was also their linguine with clam sauce. Not only were all things possible, but all things were theirs. ”
By examining how the characters describe their feelings while on drugs, one can pinpoint areas of insecurities and conclude how they feel while sober. For instance, the group “luxuriated,” which is a word typically associated with being on vacation or in a stress-free environment. Drugs are the temporary escape from reality. As mentioned earlier, the characters are chasing after an unattainable American Dream which is, in general, wanting to feel content with their life. Through drugs, they are able to fill this void and achieve “a feeling of deep and all pervading satisfaction.
The words “deep” and “pervading” both put emphasis on how fulfilling the satisfaction is. It goes deep within their core and flows through every inch of their body. Also, the narrator uses hyperbole when he describes how the characters feel “all pervading” and “absolutely knowing. ” These exaggerated terms serve to show how ultimately invincible and in control of their life the characters feel. Again, their experience on drugs seems to be this perfect, fictional dream where “all things [are] possible” and “all things [are] theirs.
To expand on this concept, the narrator alludes to Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor in his metaphor comparing “the world” to an “oyster. ” Essentially, it means that the world is yours to enjoy. When somebody pries open an oyster, it is very difficult and there is not guarantee that there will be a pearl on the inside. This is similar to life: the world holds the possibility of making a fortune, but you must work in order to achieve. The quote reveals the character’s insecurities about not being able or not wanting to work hard while sober in order to achieve the American Dream.
As a result, they take drugs to feel like they are moving and making progress, when in reality they are only deceiving themselves. Second Comparison: Trainspotting Trainspotting, on the other hand, rarely sugarcoats the characters’ high. Instead, the drug is perceived to be the controlling enemy, rather than the irresponsible user. Mark Renton illustrates his experience of going through withdrawals: “Ah started to feel a crippling nausea and the room began tae spin. Ah fell lot ay the chair n puked tomatay soup aw owed the fireside rug.
Ma body was being twisted and crushed. It wis like ah had collapsed in the street and a skid hud been lowered own top ay me, n a squad ay vicious works were loading it up wi heavy building materials, while at the same time sticking sharp roads underneath to skewer ma body. ” The choice of diction such as “twisted,” “crushed,” “collapsed,” “sticking” and “skewer” paints piercing, painful images in the reader’s mind. The connotation of “crippling” is both agonizing, but also restrictive and demonstrates the power drugs have over Renton.
In a more literal sense, the denotation of “crippling” is causing someone to become unable to move. In this case, the drug is preventing Renton from moving forward with his life. The quote ends with a simile comparing Renton’s horrid pain to having a “skid hud.. lowered own top ay me. ” Essentially, this is also an example of hyperbole because a “skid” is the scooper attached to a bulldozer which could kill, or at least inhibit and or limit a person’s feeling of control. Lastly, Renton states how he felt as if “vicious works” were “sticking sharp roads underneath to skewer [his] body.
The term “skewer” demonstrates Renton’s own perception of himself. The inevitable depression that accompanies withdrawal is being reflected in his word choice as he relates himself to a piece of meat that is being skewered for consumption. At the moment he perceives himself as being worthless-the equivalent of a piece of chopped up meat. This contrasts Selby’s treatment of addiction, which focuses on the character’s glorious experience of being high, rather than on the consequences. He wishes to maintain the “dream-like” theme throughout.