Drug taking from ‘Trainspotting’ and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ for realism and Interest Essay

Compare the two accounts of drug taking from ‘Trainspotting’ and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ for realism and Interest.

How many of their differences can be put down to the times when they were written and the attitude that existed towards drugs at that time?

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In this essay I will be comparing two different accounts of drug taking, one view is taken from the 19th century story ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ and the other from the 20th century novel ‘Trainspotting’. I will compare them for interest and realism.

In the section of ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ that I have it is obvious that the story is fantasy and not founded on reality. The language used, emphasises the actions by the use of dramatic words. There is one part which describes Mr Hyde making a drug to turn him back into Dr Jekyll, but the way that it has been worded sounds like he is mixing a spectacular potion, “as the crystals melted, to brighten in colour, to effervesce audibly, and to throw off small fumes of vapour”. The extract explaining the production of the drug has been greatly exaggerated, Robert Louis Stevenson has described every single movement and the reaction to each act.

Stevenson has turned the usually simple and private act of preparing drugs into a dramatic scene, which would have enthralled the public of the 19th century. The fact that some one is watching Mr Hyde create and test the drug is also an unusual concept because like I have already stated drug taking is normally a personal act which you wouldn’t want some one to watch you do. I find it hard to believe that a soulless man like Mr Hyde would try and turn himself back into Dr Jekyll; all of these facts back up the fact that this is a fantasy account of drug taking. However far fetched the story is I think that it supports the view that a vast majority of people in the 19th century would have had on drugs.

People’s views have drastically changed during the 20th century and people’s knowledge of drugs has broadened immensely. I have an extract of ‘Trainspotting’ a 20th century novel, which looks at drugs with a modern view. This account of drug taking is factual, the act hasn’t been glamorised. It is written from the point of view of a heroin addict so I already know that I will be hearing a less controversial story. It is also entirely written in Scottish dialect, I think that this might be to emphasis the fact that nowadays drugs aren’t just for the middle class who can afford it, which is probably how it was when ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ was written.

Although the part with the preparation of the drug is explained in great detail it is still true to life and lacks all of the melodrama that ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ has, ‘He pierces her flesh and injects a wee bit slowly, before sucking blood back intae the chamber’. Not only is the preparation of the drug written realistically but also the reaction of ‘Ali’ when the heroin is injected. Instead of being like ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ where the effects of the drug completely transform the user, the narrator portrays the actual effect of the drug, ‘She pulls back her heid, shuts her eyes and opens her mooth, givin oot an organsmic groan’ which is relaxing and ‘orgasmic’.

Like in ‘Dr Jekyll and My Hyde’ the person taking the drug is not alone ‘Ali’ is accompanied by ‘Sick Boy’, the reactions of the observers are very different just like the effects of the drugs. Rather than ‘Sick Boy’ being alarmed by ‘Ali’s’ reaction he is in awe ‘Sick Boy’s eyes are now innocent and full ay wonder’. At the end of the piece it says ‘Ma dry, cracking bones are soothed and liquefied by ma beautiful heroine’s tender caresses. The life-giving, life taking elixir. The earth moved, and it’s still moving’ this is like saying ‘it feels so good because it has been so bad’.

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