“Under the influence” is a self portrait of Scott Russell Sanders. Sanders use of the present tense in “under the influence” helps make it clear that the memories of his father’s drinking haunt him this way. These memories effect his present relationship with his own son. This essay is personal but delineates the situation of every third family
in the world. Sanders essay is personal and public where many readers can associate with their own story.
The author initiates his essay describing his father
's drinking as he says “In the perennial presence of the memory”(Sander36) by which he states that he is still living in that old memory . He drank as a gut- punched boxer gasps for breath, as a starving dog gobbles food – compulsively,