Kate Braverman wrote an award winning story called “Tales of the Mekong Delta” in 1991. Ten years later, Ted Demme directed and released a film called Blow. The paper will explore, analyze, and compare themes of the two texts. Specifically, the paper will focus on issues of identity, self-esteem, respect, alienation, predatory behavior including domination (and submission), addiction, as well as moral & ethical behavior. Both stories center around the consequences of illicit substances in the personal lives of the characters.
The protagonist in the short story is most often referred to as “she.” She meets Lenny at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Lenny essentially begins stalking her. Lenny is the figure for dominance and aggression in the story. She is the figure for submission and vulnerability in the story. She tries to deviate from her routine and essentially change her life, but Lenny tracks her down and shows up at her home, asking for assistance. Lenny perceives her as prey and acts in a predatory manner to her.
“I know all about you. I know your routine. I been watching you for two weeks. Ever since I got to town. I saw you my first day. You think I’d ask you out on a date and not know your routine?” Lenny stared at her. She felt her eyes widen. She started to say something but she changed her mind. (Braverman, 1991)
He understands that she is vulnerable because of her addiction and likely has damaged self-esteem. Lenny pushes himself on to the woman sexually, psychologically, and emotionally. Lenny finds ways to maneuver and push his way into the life of the woman. Toward the conclusion, he has shown up at her home uninvited, he gets the woman to become readdicted to alcohol. She returns to addiction as a result of the stress and lowered self-esteem due to Lenny’s treatment and predatory behavior.
Blow is a narrative of a rise of a drug dealer. Jung starts off quite innocently — dealing with his naive friend. They deal marijuana in the 1960s and did so as a means of having fun and earning extra cash. Jung does his best to impress his family, specifically his father through his growing success. His family rejects his business — his mother tries to accept him and his money, but the acceptance is temporary and superficial. The rejection from his parents in a way drives Jung to be a more productive and successful drug dealer. His business grows and expands to unknown heights. He loses the closeness of his old friend, gaining new business allies and a demanding and unbalanced wife. Jung ends up losing his family again when he receives rejection from his child because of his criminal activities. Jung suffers from self-esteem issues connected to the rejection by his father, primarily. His mother also seems to be in a subordinate position with respect to her husband, Jung’s father, as well. The father is the dominant force in Jung’s life and psychological unrest, although they do not spend a lot of time together physically when he is an adult. The alienation Jung feels from his father drives his addictive tendencies, including selling drugs and making money.
Braverman, Kate. “Tales of the Mekong Delta.” The Braverman Archive, Web, Available from: http://www.katebraverman.com/talltalesfromthemekongdelta.html, 1991. 2013 March 28.
IMDB. “Blow.” Web, Available from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0221027/, 2001. 2013 March 28.
Thomason, Michael. “Blow (2001).” BBC, Web, Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/04/30/blow_2001_review.shtml, 2001. 2013 March 28.
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