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Analysis of A Million Little Pieces Essay


Analysis Essay

In the book A Million Little Pieces, James Frey writes an autobiography of his time spent in a rehabilitation clinic after being found on a plane completely intoxicated. Later his book is discovered to be more of a memoir as it was based on a true story but not completely true. Frey writes the book in attempt to inform his audience of the hardships he has lived before and while at the clinic. To him the stay at the clinic was a time of a conflict against himself since half of him wanted to be there and have a chance at surviving yet the other half of him wanted to relapse and get messed up no matter the consequence. To depict this struggle against himself he used an informal and sometimes vulgar diction, parallelism and over embellishment.

Freys use of curse words and informal language gave the book a more realistic tone whereas if he would have used scholarly diction it would not have as great of an impact on the reader to what the situation was really like. In one instance he describes his need for alcohol by saying I need a drink I want a drink I tell myself that I only want one but I want fucking fifty, (pg. 42) this epistrophe is an example of his obscene language to portray his intense need to fuel his addiction although he was trying to stay sober. It seemed as if his unconscious distress for the need of alcohol and drugs wanted to take over his conscious mind and lead him to a failure in the clinic. He in many instances had dreams of doing drugs and while he does them he describes himself [feeling] fucking good he cannot describe the sensation by words less impacting than these because to depict such an intense feeling and addiction as his, he must use words that give the strongest impact e.g. curse words.

Frey used very descriptive words to emblazon the smallest of details and he achieved these close descriptions by using parallelism as well. When James tried to get away from everything he often went outside the clinic and just observed natures beauty to calm himself from the turmoil in his life. To describe his time outside he said, I listen to the leaves. I stare at the ground I try to forget everything. The whole fucking mess. Forget, lose, forget, please lose, (pg. 157) this is a clear example of parallel structure in his sentence. The structure breaks down his actions into smaller pieces and instead of describing the big picture he emphasizes the fact that he does all these little things to achieve his need to forget his past. He repeats forget and lose to show how desperately he wants to do so. He does this type of repetition throughout the book to make sure that what he is repeating is an important factor to the point he is trying to get across.

After James Frey was exposed to the public as a liar by The Smoking Gun article and by show host Oprah, he admitted to having embellished the book for the purpose of protecting the identity of the characters as well as portraying an alter ego of him as a badass to help him cope with what he actually went through. In the situation where he had a root canal without Novocain no one actually remembers whether he went through the procedure in such way and ironically neither does he. In context the exaggerations can be described as an attempt to create a greater impact of disbelief of what can happen to one man in his journey to recovery from an addiction. James lied about how Lilly died, in his book he said she hung herself but in real life she cut her veins to death. This would be an example of over embellishing as well as proof of overstatements and lies to create characters and events that were of greater interest to readers.

In the end Frey did accomplish his purpose by using his pathos to engage his audience into the book and exposing what happened to him early in his life and during rehab. He let down much of his audience when they found out his book was partially untrue, but the story overall was a great general picture of the struggles James had to overcome to once again gain control of his life. His tone gave vivid and uncensored images of the violence and desperation in the clinic and his repetition emphasized the more important factors in the process of getting his point across. Once all the items were put together it made for a great book whether it is considered fiction or non fiction.

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