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Confessions of an English Opium-Eater Essay

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Par   •  15 Mai 2017  •  Analyse sectorielle  •  444 Mots (2 Pages)  •  386 Vues

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Astrid Pace

Period 3

09-16-15

Ms. Rharmili

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater Essay

        Essayist Thomas De Quincey, in the introduction of his autobiography Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, conveys his experiences of being a drug addict. De Quincey’s purpose is to share his experience and explain what it was like to be him in that period of his life. He adopts a subjective tone and uses logos, ethos and pathos in order to teach and educate readers about opium consumption and how it affected him.

        De Quincey uses reasons and proof (logos) to explain how his autobiography would help people in the same situation. His introduction makes it clear to the reader that the autobiography aims to be “useful and instructive” (l. 3) on a topic that is not generally spoken about in the nineteenth century literature. Indeed, drug addiction is considered as immoral and drug users are seen as weak and sometimes outcast. Therefore, De Quincey’s raw and unbiased testimony is unique. It is even dangerous to its author’s reputation to the point that he wishes the text to be published after his death.

        To further convince the reader of the value of his narrative, De Quincey positions himself as a philosopher in pursuit of intellectual experiences and gives credible arguments to support his claim. He confesses his deep addiction to opium and the “sensual pleasure” (l. 42) associated with it. At the same time, he prides himself in the “religious zeal” (l. 44) to overcome his habit as no other man seems to have done. In the eyes of the philosopher, the journey to hell and back is an experience worth sharing for the benefits of others.

        Finally, De Quincey announces his intention to come bare and vulnerable and show his feelings in front of his readers. His autobiography is not a confession of guilt, as the public could expect considering the topic. But it addresses the hard feelings and emotions he went through: solitude, loneliness, misery, as the addiction excluded him from his peer group.  De Quincey puts forward this complete “gratuitous self-humiliation” (l. 11-12) as another token of credibility and request of acceptance from his readers.

        Overall, De Quincey used the rhetorical strategies of logos, pathos and ethos to justify his purpose for writing his autobiography Confessions of an English Opium-Eater. In a confession addressed to the reader, De Quincey lets the world know about his experiences and how it felt to go through such a painful journey.

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