Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I miss smoking

I loved the discussion of cigarettes and those who smoke them, on page 242.  “Because there was never enough money and there were never enough fags.  You had to become an expert in bumming, cadging, begging, stealing fags.”  As a previous smoker, I understand the complexities of bumming a cigarette--If you aren’t careful, you can lose friends.  What really struck me though was the intricacy involved in such a minor matter.  The options of who one can be in the simple act of bumming a smoke are numerous, you can have a forgettable face, able to snag a cig. from the same person more than once, or “blow a week’s pocket money on twenty, give them out to all and sundry, and spend the next month reminding those with fags about that time when you gave them a fag” (242).  One can also share the smoke once it’s been filched, which leads to even more choices that have to be made, halves, thirds, saves, and/or butt.  These choices only relate to cigarettes, think of the choices that have to be made every day, with every object, “should I have coffee today?  Decaf or regular? Hazelnut or vanilla? Should I sit at home or take it with me? I just had my teeth whitened, should I have tea instead?  Our lives are filled with choices, and decisions.  As adults we have learned to filter some of the options, for me having coffee in the morning is no longer an choice that has to be made, it is a habit, I don’t care what flavor just give me my damn coffee.  But as a kid they whole world is riding on new decisions.  Through this view of cigarettes it is easy to see why Millat is in a constant state of change, how overwhelming.

1 comment:

  1. I love that you commented on this passage! I think it shows that, even as much as we might see Millat as the "bad son," he is much more aware and sensitive to the nuances of social behavior and power that almost all of the characters (Irie is probably second in this ability). He's aware when he deceives himself and when he's being influenced by others.