The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me

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WORDS  762

The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me

The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me
Alcohol, probably the oldest drug known, has been used since the earliest of societies for celebration, rituals, and other social situations. In the early 1920s, society viewed alcohol as more of a social problem. The 18th amendment was passed to outlaw the consumption, sale, or trade of alcohol. This action caused much more delinquency, as a result of gangsters, and other organized crimes against the government. Prohibition was abolished with the 21st amendment in 1933. The poem The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me was written only a few years after prohibition and reflects the true nature of alcoholism. Although alcoholism was still frowned upon in this era, Schwartz uses a bear to expose and reflect the true nature of alcoholism. In the last stanza, The secret life of belly and bone shows that Schwartz feels that alcoholism is still unacceptable behavior. Schwartz uses physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of a bear to explain the nature of alcoholism.
Schwartz gives the bear human characteristics that would be true of an alcoholic, Clumsy and lumbering here and there and In love with candy, anger, and sleep. Much like bears, people who are alcoholics, may experience a great deal of difficulty keeping his/her balance or controlling their emotions. Schwartz furthers this metaphor of an alcoholic by showing a physical dependence: Trembles and shows the darkness beneath. Due to withdrawal, an alcoholic may wake up in the morning with tremors and distress that require a drink for relief. The bear is also eager to engulf his physical need as shown in the line, A manifold honey to smear on his face. This strong need for alcohol outweighs what a person knows and understands about the effect on the body. Schwartz conveys to his readers that alcoholism is an inevitable burden. He tells us the bear is That inescapable animal walks with me / Moves where I move, distorting my gesture. It is apparent that Schwartz feels that alcoholism is a burden.
Conflicts with culture may make it difficult for some people to develop their own stable attitudes and moderate patterns of drinking. An alcoholic may feel the drinking...