Like Junior in Alexie’s young adult novel, Piri is exposed to substance addiction at a young age. Piri even reflects a little of Junior’s pessimism regarding his own peers on the rez when he remarks, “Carlito was gonna be a junkie, like most of us would be—but that was in the future” (17). When Piri does meet Carlito again in last scene of Down, it is as if he is repeating the first scene of the book from twenty or so years earlier: he surprises someone on the roof who is shooting up heroin, and he recognizes the normalizing effects of the drug on the individual with the addiction. “He was like normal now that the drug was part of him,” the younger Piri observes, and the older Piri says, “I made mental figures and my junkie panín needed seventy-two dollars a day to keep from coming apart—to just stay normal. Something I was doing for nothing” (328). If a person can be “normal” with or without drugs, then what does addiction symbolize for Piri?
Consider these points, too:
In prison, Piri actually talks about same-sex activity in the same terms as an addiction: “He wants to buy a daddy-o, I thought. But I ain’t gonna break. One time. That’s all I have to do it. Just one time and it’s gone time” (262-63). He also converts briefly to Islam, which he recognizes is a “clean-living religion” that imparts to its followers “dignity and quiet pride” (290-91, 293). Although he is “clean” by the end of the book, he also has warmed again to Christianity (329).
Question: What does addiction symbolize for Piri? How does he explain the function or purpose of drug use for people in his community? Does the book suggest that one can be addicted to something—a feeling, an attitude, any kind of habit—besides drugs? (100 words minimum -- please remember to use
Piri Substance Addiction
Length: 1 pages (275 Words)
The term “panin” through the explanation given in the glossary means buddy. Through the definition, a proper understanding of the term is given. Therefore, readers can find it easy understanding the term within the reading’s context while reading the text. The explanation or rather details that the book gives also help in getting the meaning of the term within its context. Contextual information becomes important in enhancing the interpretation of the term without the use of dictionaries. The use of the phrase, “shouted my boy” suggests a scenario in which both the narrator and the person being addressed are in a good relationship. This makes it easy to understand the information communicated, although the use of slang words such as “damn.”
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