The Struggle in My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch

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The Struggle in My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch Though most of the experiences and actions revealed in William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch directly contradict philosophies believed by the Jewish faith, there is a definite connection between My Name is Asher Lev and Naked Lunch. This connection lies is the narrators' artistic roles in society. Both Lev and Burroughs stray from the surrealistic aspect of their mediums: art and writing, respectively, and portray life as they see that it really is. There is no embellishing on either of their parts nor is there any glorification to the events happening around them. William S. Burroughs wrote Naked Lunch as a conclusion to his fifteen-year addiction to opiates, mainly heroin and morphine. In his "tell all" story of himself as a junkie, he never tries to lie about any of the events that took place during this time and he never augments anything in order to make for a better story. Burroughs clearly depicted the distraught and dillusional life that he once led including his experiences with almost every drug possible and his encounters with sexual relations and situations that went against the status quo of the time (as it still does now). Burroughs' role as in artist in society, however, was that he was one of the people that clearly showed why the life of a drug addict was not as glorifying and "cool" as people falsely make it out to be. The phases of drug addiction are able to be clearly seen throughout the novel since Naked Lunch was a book written before, during, and after his drug rehabilitation. Just as Burroughs reveals the drug underground as it really is, Asher Lev is an artist of reality. His talent for art was recognized early in his life, but it was some years later that his view of the world became more apparent. He was neither a pessimist nor was his an optimist, but his drawing capture a little of both realms. He drew what he felt: what he saw as reality in his mind. More often in the book, however, do we see Asher's pessimistic views on the world come out because of the events that are going on in his life. "I don't like the world, Mama. It's not pretty. I won't draw it pretty." (52) Just like Burroughs, Asher does not think about what would be acceptable to those who view his works, or the beliefs of his religion, or if what he is drawing may be considered wrong; he just draws what he truly feels at the time.

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