What I am is an Earth writer: The aptly titled Earth Works is the latest from the award-winning writer and indeed features several classic and uncollected essays built around the concept of place—and in particular, the natural world. Throughout his writing career, Sanders has published eleven books of non-fiction and eight books of fiction.
The personal essay is a sub-genre of the literary genre of creative nonfiction. Also known as a familiar essay, the personal essay, unlike the memoir which focuses on the past, it is the present that the perspective is told from, examining some contemporary topic which may still find some relevance in past events.
Research is often used to inform the topic of the personal essay. The writer of the personal essay uses their own life to examine contemporary society. If the personal essay is successful it elevates the writers life into a common experience shared by many readers.
It was only after Sanders grew up that he discovered the disease of alcoholism, its effects upon the family members of its sufferers, and the prevalence of this debilitating addiction within our society.
It is through his present perspective that Sanders can look upon his youth and both understand what he was going through at the time, making sense of the chaos of his youth, and understanding how it effects him even now, causing him to become a workaholic, carrying with him a secret fear that someday the slightest drop of alcohol may cause him to sacrifice himself to the demon of alcoholism from which his father could never escape.
Sanders later relates the tale told in the Bible, of Jesus exorcising a madman, and sending the possessing spirits into nearby swine. When Sanders was growing up there was no common knowledge about the disease of alcoholism, no Alcoholics Anonymous, no rehabilitation centers.
The alcoholic, like his family, was unable to turn to anyone for help, had no refuge to escape the demon of alcoholism. Nowadays we live in a society that has many programs and groups for those suffering from alcoholism, treating it more as a curable disease for the sufferer who truly desires change, rather than a shameful stigma that encouraged those to hide their addiction and keep it a secret.
But when Sanders was young there was not this climate of tolerance and understanding towards addiction. If he squandered money on drink, I would pinch every penny. Sanders relates how his son and daughter noticed the sadness which lingered in his father from his youth.
And so Sanders is weighted down, in some way as we all are, by the things we inherit from our families, their addictions, their shames, their dysfunctions, either blindly continuing in their behavior helpless, or in some way overcompensating and trying so hard to prove ourselves to others.
Sanders informs his essay with research, the various terms for alcoholism, biblical references to drink, and the data about the prevalence of alcoholism in America. Sanders, through his essay, relates a common experience for many children of adult alcoholics, and the effects of alcoholism on the family of its sufferers.
Sanders, by sharing his experiences, reminds us that all of us are effected in some way by dysfunctions of our families, and their dysfunctions can unknowingly become our own, and if we are lucky enough to escape our youths intact, many people out there in the world do not.
The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction. Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz.“Under the Influence,” one of Sanders’ best-known works, first appeared in Harper’s Magazine in and offers a different portrait—that of a childhood profoundly disturbed by his father’s heavy drinking.
“My father drank,” it begins. Under the Influence Scott Russell Sanders's "Under the Influence" is about a son's perspective of growing up with a father, who was controlled by alcohol.
Sanders was only around the age of ten when his father changed into a drunk. A personal essay is a short work of autobiographical nonfiction characterized by a sense of intimacy and a conversational manner.
Also called a personal statement. A type of creative nonfiction, the personal essay is "all over the map," according to Annie Dillard. "There's nothing you can't do. In “Under the Influence”, Scott Russell Sanders recreates his memories and feelings of loss, anger, and fear from his childhood inflicted by his alcoholic father.
Sanders shares that growing up with a drunken parent can have a serious long-term effect on a child. “Under the Influence” this essay written by Scott Russell Sanders is written about his father and his father’s struggle with alcoholism. This essay shows how alcoholism affects Scott Sanders, his brothers, his sister, his mother and even his own children.
Under the influence Paying the price of my father’s booze. By Scott R. (Scott Russell) Sanders. Download Pdf. Read Online. This article is available in PDF and Microfiche formats only.
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