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Do You Feel Sympathy for Lloyd?

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Do you feel sympathy for Lloyd?

Today, we quickly dismiss the problems of those deemed "socially unstable."  Careful, by Raymond Carver is about a man called Lloyd struggling to fight back his addiction to alcohol. Throughout the story, he consistently shows signs of addiction through his irrational reasoning, his denial, as well as in his actions. Should we feel sympathy for someone like Lloyd, an alcoholic who does not contribute to society?

This problem should be addressed from a psychological standpoint rather than a physical one. Sympathy should be felt for Lloyd because of his emotions; he shows that he cares and does attempt to hold on to his one relationship with Inez. Often, those with an addiction lose connection with those around them, as they need to fulfill their wants and needs. Lloyd, on the other hand, attempts to present himself in a better fashion. He tries to hide his alcohol so that Inez would think he is recovering from his addiction. His efforts reveal a slight emotional connection as he shows that he wants a second chance with her, although he was trying to prove so falsely. Even when Inez decides to leave, Lloyd continues to look out for her. Although he does not say anything directly to her or make a decisive move, he sticks around and listens to her leave. This seemingly meaningless act does slightly show a bit of regret from Lloyd as he wishes to hold onto something that he lost. Lloyds efforts may have been unsuccessful, but his efforts prove that he does make an attempt of rehabilitation and does strive for change.

         Often, the failed attempts of getting off a particular substance are not physical battles, rather a strenuous psychological war with oneself. Lloyd continuously tells Inez that he is recovering from his addiction, however; it is almost impossible for him to restrain himself from drinking. A focus when viewing addictions is the neurological effects it has on people. The pleasurable feeling of a high or the longing of alcohol is triggered by the sympathetic nervous system, a function of the body which we cannot control. The dopamine release from the brain gives a relaxing sensation to the user and leaves them wanting more. At a certain point of substance abuse, the body becomes accustomed to the higher level of the hormone, and when that point is not achieved, the user goes through the symptoms of withdrawal. Denial drives Lloyd away from self-recognition of his problem, but it is only to be expected due to his lack of self-control and consciousness. Because of the physiological aspect of addiction, there must be a degree of sympathy or empathy for Lloyd as emotions drive him to a certain extent.

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