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Morphine in 3 Day Road

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Madison Tiesma

on 14 January 2016

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Transcript of Morphine in 3 Day Road

Argument #1- Overall Health Effects
Through means of addiction or use of morphine, characters experience many negative health problems due to their dependance on the drug, which impairs their overall function in everyday life.
Morphine Addiction and Withdrawal
“Elijah’s own body screams out for the needle. He doesn’t listen to it as he slips the needle into the soldier’s arm and flushes the medicine into his veins. Elijah watches and imagines the dull warmth spreading through the soldier. The man’s body relaxes, his face goes slack and his eyes close.” (Boyden 337)
-After learning about the detrimental effects of morphine, do you believe that if morphine was not present in the novel, the events that unfolded would have changed the course of the novel?

-What is the significance of morphine in the story?

Argument #3
Lack of Clear Thoughts/ Mental Discrepancy

Morphine in 3 Day Road
How Morphine Affects Relationships
Characters misuse of morphine causes them to lose control over clear thoughts and mental stability.
1."Grey Eyes stands back from us.'I told him to take a break' he mumbles to no one.' I told him that he's too tall to be sniping here"--"McCaan is angry that Sean Patrick died so needlessly, and keeps a closer eye on Grey Eyes. He is not as good as he thinks he is at hiding what he puts into himself."(Boyden 112-113)
It is abundantly clear how Grey Eyes' addiction caused the death of Sean Patrick. Grey Eyes' judgement was disfocused and he couldnt tell Sean Patrick to move. Grey Eyes used the morphine to get through the war as painlessly as possible but his addiction inevitably led to sloppy mistakes resulting in death. It seemed to him that the morphine was helping but was actaully causing death and grief.

"All winter I have suffered inexplicable suffering with a miserable thing called depression. My mind could not focus in the field, and I could not shake it." (Boyden 233)
3.. Signs and Symptoms of Morphine Use Disorder include: Euphoria, Impaired Mental Performance, Inability to pay attention to surroundings, Preoccupation with the drug, Continued use despite knowing what the substance is causing or poor judgment.
Characters throughout the novel especially Elijah exhibit many of these symptoms after their prolonged use of morphine. Characters even develop strange dreams which can also be a result of the morphine use. Elijah realizes the morphine is not good for him but continues taking it anyway. The soldiers believed that the morphine was helping them and was doing good, when in reality it was destroying their bodies and minds and did more damage than good.

This quote demonstrates how Xavier has become depressed during the war. He is drowning in his own thoughts, and finds nothing rewarding anymore. Everything is dark and gloomy, which make him feel as if something is truly wrong. Perhaps his depression lead to his future addiction and use of morphine, because it gave him a reliable item that he could always turn to, and it would always be there for him. Depression is a common side effect of the use of morphine, and was certainly not uncommon to see in numerous soldiers.
"When Grey Eyes takes a lot of it, he lies like he is dead until I worry he has joined them. He doesn't always take enough that he goes unconscious." (Boyden 80)
This quote demonstrates the effects that morphine has on the central nervous system. Since morphine is a very strong pain medication that works by calming the central nervous system when users take it, and many soldiers might not have adhered (or have been aware) of what the drug actually does to the human body. Here, Grey Eyes has taken so much morphine that it has actually made him go unconscious, which is very dangerous to his whole body. This would impair his everyday function because of his inability to have a fast reaction time, which would be nescessary in times of war.
As a result of Elijah and other charcters misuse of morphine during the first World War, the novel
Three Day Road
by Joseph Boyden shows that the characters perceptions of reality and application of clear thoughts are negatively affected and/or drastically reduced.
"If a person uses too much morphine, the dangerous effects of an overdose include cold, clammy skin low blood pressure, slow heart rate, coma and even death. If these individuals can't get more morphine, the unpleasant effect is going to be withdrawal sickness. This means nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps/aches, chills, sweating, restlessness, and irritability. There's also muscle twitches, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, and depression." (Narconon 2016)
This quote from secondary research demonstrates the dangerous side effects that severe addiction and overdose may cause individuals to face. Many characters in Three Day Road are seen to face these physical ailments due to their use of morphine. For example, when Xavier is on his way home with Niska, he suffers from many of the above symptoms, and Boyden portrays him as being in excruciating pain. As a result, this equates to many negative overall health effects that might eventually kill Xavier.
“But when the golden liquid is in his veins! Even at night the world is bathed in a soft light. He hears men talking and he understands what they are truly saying beneath their words. He can make himself float from his body at will and look down at the world below him- the world that man has created- and still see the beauty in it.” (Boyden 212)

“The relief of taking a syringe from my kit and readying my arm washes over me almost as sweetly as the medicine itself.” (Boyden 25)

“I sit with my back against Elijah’s bed and lightly touch the sharp end of the needle. I roll up my sleeve. I want to feel what Elijah feels. Maybe I will understand better then. “ (Boyden 322)

As a result of repeated morphine use, mulitple characters in Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden suffer from the effects of the drug. These include many overall health effects, suffering from addiction as well as withdrawl, an inability to produce clear thoughts without discrepancy, and also places a strain on relationships.

2.“When he is taking the morphine he forgets all about his British accent”(Boyden 205)…”’Lie down Graves’. Elijah shouts, reaching for his rifle and I realize just as he must that the words are in Cree”(Boyden 281).
When Elijah is using the morphine both his memory and thinking skills become affected. He forgets to talk with the British accent that he uses solely to impress the other soldiers. He is also unable to think quickly causing the death of Graves much like the death of Sean Patrick was caused. When Elijah injects himself with the morphine he becomes seperated from himself. His body standing on the ground with his mind floating elsewhere.

“ I see Elijah talking in a low voice with Grey Eyes. Their relationship is now one of convenience. One will rely on the other when he is short of medicine.” Boyden 313
- This quotation demonstrates how there relationship is strictly business, which was once friends. This relationship between Elijah and Grey Eyes becomes dangerous with Elijah becoming addict. Elijah becomes enraged when Grey eyes doesnt have more for him, distancing their relationship. Remaining a friendship who is strickly business, so Elijah is able to get morphine for his addiction. This friendship becomes dangerous when Elijah threatens to hurt Grey Eyes if no morphine would be given to him. He eventuallys kills Grey Eyes due to Grey Eyes not giving Elijah morphine and tells the general about Elijah's addiction. Elijah is a dangerous man, this pushing everyone in his life away from him.
“As I begin to close the flaps, I spot Elijah. He stands on the road, staring at me, a quizzical expression on his face. He looks like a boy left out of the game.” Boyden 247
- This quotation demonstrates how Elijah has become more addicted to the morphine. Elijah is desperate for the drug, his body craves it. The drug has been taking over Elijah's life, it has become too hard for him to stop. Elijah has put the drug first in his life, this affecting his friendships by drifting away from them. The relationship between Xavier and Elijah has become awkward, with Xavier still with his heritage and Elijah addicted to the drug. Elijah putting the need for the drug before his best friend. This creats tension between the two.
- This quotataion is significant because shows how Elijah life has become so dependant on the drug to make his life better. He is trying to escape his reality. This is affecting his relationship with others around him and also himself. Elijah is beings to lose who he was and beings to see sucide is a good alternative to end all his problems. This changing his relationship with Xavier because Xavier now sees him as a man who is conflicted on what is the right thing to do, when it could actually be dangerous for others around him. Xavier is not as close now because Elijah's personaility has changed for the worse and th morphine makes Elijah do scary actions.
- Xavier knew his Aunt did not approve of his habit, but becoming more addicted. He did not worry how this drug was affecting his relationship with his aunt but to fulfill his needs. This aunt was disappointed in him, seeing him in a different view now. She was upset with Xavier's actions to do the drug, but she stood by him. Niska knows if he doesn't take the medication he could die. She wants to help him to be free from his drug. Making their relationship weaker by the way she views him and respect for him now. But she stays with him, to help him get to a better place.
“I can feel Auntie’s eyes on my actions, and I feel like a pathetic criminal under her gaze even though I know she does not judge me.” Boyden 177
The use of morphine within
Three Day Road

by Joseph Boyden causes distraction and
distances in relationships between characters.
“When he’s gone too long without the medicine, he tells me, he seems a good alternative. When he does not take the morphine, he is afraid of the world…” Boyden 212
“My body cries out for the medicine so loudly that I decide not to even try to hide what I do” Boyden 177
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