Thomas De Quincey Book Report

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Thomas De Quincey introduces Confessions of an English Opium Eater, as an extract from a longer autobiography entitled, Life of a Scholar. De Quincey’s primary reason in writing this autobiography is, he hopes it will be “instructive” to his audience. That reason is also why his writing goes into such explicit detail about his personal life. He tried to resist opium, but due to the fact that opium was a major and effective pain reliever at the time, it was difficult, seeing as he suffered from numerous physical ailments. However, his addiction to opium began to threaten his mental health and writing career as he got older.
The first time De Quincey tried “opium” was in 1804, it was to relieve a toothache he had. A fellow classmate recommended
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The result of all this alone time allowed De Quincey to entertain himself by reading out loud and studying economics and political science. In this time, he was inspired by the work of David Ricardo. He was inspired to the point where he wrote his own economic treaty, but it was never published due to the fact that he was unable to write a preface and dedication. I feel like De Quincey’s lack of motivation is tied to his opium usage. The man eventually developed hallucinations and began to experience vivid nightmares. For example, in 1816 a Malay sailor knocked on De Quincey’s door. De Quincy let him sleep on his floor and then gave him opium as a parting gift the next day. The sailor immediately took all the opium at once and this took De Quincey by surprise. He worried that the large dosage would kill the sailor but his body was ever found. Therefore, it was safe to assume the sailor didn’t die of opium overdose as De Quincey feared. After the Malay’s visit, he appeared in De Quincey’s nightmares, relapsing into heavy opium use. That is one of De Quincey’s drawbacks from long term opium use, strange recurring nightmares. He also dreamt of lakes which caused him to worry that his brain had dropsy, the swelling of soft tissues. He also dreamt that he visited a child’s grave and found Ann sitting on top of it. After numerous, …show more content…
It was the most effective pain reliever in the 1800s, it allowed someone to stop thinking about the pain and think more about the intellectual side of life. It inspired him to prove the people who thought opium leads to laziness and depression wrong. However, everything he worked for that had to do with opium backfired. He developed hallucinations and insane nightmares. He wasn’t able to create things anymore. He lost all motivation to write. His opium addiction allowed him to ease his pain physically, but strengthened his pain

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