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The value of The Night of the Guns by David Carr is perhaps best demonstrated by the guidance in it. It tells about a common man, whose story is more appealing to readers than that of celebrities, and, therefore, more influential to the readers because they can associate with him. It portrays the theme of obsession and addiction. Now, a person gets addicted to something or somebody if that something or somebody gives him/her pleasure, or helps him/her divert attention from tragedy. However, an obsession with something or somebody has a general effect of destroying almost all the other aspects of one’s life. After this experience, the road to recovery may be a difficult one, with the result that most people are unable to see the “light at the end of the tunnel.” This book is, however, important because it provides strategies of making a recovery from these experiences from within and the benefit of searching for and making this recovery. In an English class, the book has the significance of bringing out the intelligence within the inner self in a figurative manner, which helps in a remarkable improvement of descriptive language by the students.
This memoir by David Carr is widely considered as a good motivation to the readers. The whole story behind this memoir revolves around the use of drugs and how addicts to drugs stand to lose their lives as a result of this addiction. There is also the realization that the acknowledgement of potential loss by the addict can cause him/her to embark on the road to recovery and continuous betterment of his/her life for prosperity.
The general preference of people is to read stories of success, especially of famous personalities. However, most autobiographies often portray the individuals as having worked hard for their success. These individuals often, in their autobiographies, have attained levels of success in their lives that not everybody can attain. However, this book provides an inspiration from the point of view of a common person. It tells of how a common person faces many misfortunes and even becomes a drug addict as he struggled with life, but later comes out of his cocoon to succeed in life. This serves to demonstrate how life had a variety of ways of providing pleasure and suffering alike. Indeed, the author insists that the “…trick of enjoying New York is not to be so busy grinding your way to the center of the earth that you fail to notice the sparkle of the place, a scale and a kind of wonder that puts all human endeavors in their proper place…” (Carr 87). The author’s drug addiction adversely affects his social life, and he even faces stigmatization as a result of this addiction. However, when he decides to make his life better, he undertakes every effort to overcome the addiction and become a responsible citizen. By so doing, he starts to live his life afresh and can succeed in this new life. This is a portrayal of a heroic step by a common man to save himself from being a pathetic member of the society to the backbone of that society. In this respect, the book offers a lot of motivation to the common people (Reese; Carr 320-8).
The Night of the Gun holds the same value as any other story describing the success of a famous person. Despite not informing the readers of the ways of becoming an extraordinary person in the lives, it clarifies the idea of the moment of realization of loss of something that is dear to the person. Moreover, it illustrates the motivational will power that can lead an individual, no matter how depressed, unsuccessful, or society-rejected, to restart living his/her life the way any other normal person lives theirs. In demonstrating that no man is without fault, and a drug addict, therefore, still has a chance to better his/her life, the author writes that he has “…seen enough to know that we all carry a measure of guilt and innocence among us…” (Carr 172). This quote gives the impression that every person has the capacity to determine and follow what is the right path in his/her life. This has a general value of providing direction and diverting people from destructive ways of living to help them become better citizens. It solves, in a lot of ways, the society’s conflicts by discussing different aspects of the society that adds negativity to it. It warns the readers of what they stand to lose by, for example, becoming drug addicts, and how it felt for an individual to lose everything in his/her life (Frendenburg; Carr 130-210).
Another value provided by the book is seen where it vehemently advises the readers on the need for confessions. The form of confession referred to here is the confession to self, together with the confession to the world, but more emphasis is put on the former than the latter, since it helps an individual to make the decision to change his/her way of living. Indeed, to teach the importance of confessing to oneself, the author revealingly states, “…we tell ourselves that we lie to protect other, but the self usually comes out looking damn good in the process…” (Carr 204). It shows that the self was to blame for any wrong doings or bad habits, and it would be foolish to blame other people for this. Therefore, a common person, who is going through difficulties in life, is probably going through them because his/her inner self made the wrong decision or choice to indulge in self-destructive practices in his/her life, for example, the use of drugs. This, however, can be corrected by first confessing to the self that the individual made a wrong decision and that he/she needed to reverse this decision to be able to better his/her life. The scope of the book goes beyond the problems faced by drug addicts. It advices that people should remain true to their emotions and not let any tragedy or loss impact negatively their lives. For this reason, one should always confess to his/herself regarding the true motives of his/her actions, and should not instead hind behind excuses and lies, since this will have detrimental effects in the long run.
However, it is also essential to consider other aspects that could lead a drug addict to seek redemption. The questions that can be asked here include “Is it some internal realization that brings this apparent change?” or “Is it denial from the society that brings an addict to the path of recovery?” It is important to establish true answers to these questions as the reasons behind a drug addict’s search for recovery could be manipulative. Indeed, to illustrate the importance of establishing this truth, Carr says, “…truth is singular and lies are plural, but history-the facts of what happened is both immutable and mostly unknowable…” (Carr 127). This quote demonstrates that a person is often unaware of his/her own flaws or the truth about him/herself. A true change in a person’s way of life is, therefore, caused not by the society’s rejection of the individual, but by the self-realization that occurs within the person. The book teaches that society label's actions as being wrong or right, but does not directly determine how individuals distinguish between right and wrong. For instance, if the society were as strong as to influence the way of thinking of its members, then there would never be such vices as drug addiction or crime. The real rights and wrongs in a society are, therefore, best depicted in this book, as it rightly insists that these rights or wrongs come from inside of the person. Instead of labeling things like drug addiction as good or bad, the book tells the readers that drug addiction provided temporary relief to the problems an individual was facing in his/her life, but in the long run it causes him/her to lose important things in his/her life. This leaves the readers with the need to search into their inner selves to determine whether drug addiction was right or wrong, as far as their lives were concerned, an endeavor that could cause a drug addict to start looking for ways by which to give up drugs.
The book also highlights a few important features of a person’s life which most people take for granted and only realize their importance when faced with the possibility of losing them. Among these things are memories and past experiences. Regarding memories, Carr insists that memories “…live between synapses and people who hold them. Memories, even epic ones, are perishable from their very formation even in people who don’t soak their brains in mood-altering chemicals…” (Carr 2). This quote demonstrates the significance of memories in the words of the author. Indeed, psychologists insist that a person’s past experiences largely contribute to his/her personality. As such, a drug addict may have missed many things in his/her life while growing up. Therefore, it can be argued that Carr wrote this memoir to try to recollect his past experiences, some of which he may be unaware of, that may have contributed to his current personality. He must have felt the need to know about his family, friends, and colleagues, as well as other things that he did in his earlier life but did not remember. This is in a bid to resolve the situation he is currently suffering from, which psychologists describe as a “loss of Identity.” The book teaches that for a balanced personality and psychological stature, a person’s identity, memory, and experience are very important. Moreover, it is only when an addict begins his search for the past memories, that he truly begins the journey towards recovery (Reese).
In conclusion, it is worthwhile to note that “…all sins tend to be addictive…and the terminal point of addiction is what is called damnation…” (Bradshaw 41). This book implies that the first step towards damnation is self-realization that is the path to recovery. Another thing that can be learnt from the book is that acknowledgement of important things in one’s life is of paramount importance, instead of waiting to lose them. The book is, therefore, very educative to the younger generations in the society who may be frustrated quicker by the struggles of life and end up on a self-destructive path.