"Emergency" Analysis

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Emergency Analysis
The book by Denis Johnson entitled Jesus’ Son follows a drug addicted narrator through a series of short stories. Over the course of the book, many characters come and go, and few other than the narrator are constantly in it. Some of these secondary characters are also drug users, while others are morally questionable in different ways. One of the more interesting secondary characters appears in the story Emergency, Georgie. Georgie is the hospital orderly who happens to steal the occasional handful of pills to eat while on the clock. Most of us would find this action despicable – getting intoxicated while working on emergency room patients, even if he is just the orderly. In this way, he is not unlike many of the characters in these stories, most of whom engage in morally questionable behavior. However, despite this general consensus the reader has of most of these characters, it is not fair to dismiss their human decency as a whole. I would contend that Denis Johnson wrote these characters, such as Georgie, to be relatable but with a certain reluctance felt by the reader. The narrator subtly displays this commonality multiple times in the various stories, and I believe he is justified in doing so. Georgie, though a drug thief, is still relatable in a moral, human sense. Emergency opens up with the narrator talking to Georgie as he mops the floor of the operating room endlessly. It is apparent that he has already ingested some of the drugs he stole, since he seems to think there is an absurd amount of blood still on the floor that needs to be mopped when in fact the floor is clean. He also makes some nonsensical statements, like when he says, “There’s so much goop inside of us man, and it all wants to get out.” This phrase seems to mean very little, and sounds like something a stereotypical “stoner” or “druggie” would say, right down to the arbitrary inclusion of the word “man.” So the first impression of Georgie is by no means...
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