Drinking and Drunkenness in “Wedding in White”


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Essay #: 058926
Total text length is 4,228 characters (approximately 2.9 pages).

Excerpts from the Paper

The beginning:
Drinking and Drunkenness in "Wedding in White"
How great a part do drinking and drunkenness play in Wedding in White? Are they, in fact, the real villains? The question is a fascinating one, as it invokes further questions of agency, responsibility, and morality that constitute both the substance and the subtext of the play.
Is it really the case that, as Billy claims, “good beer never hurt anybody?” Billy, himself drunk, rapes Jeanie, but alcohol cannot be said to the villain, for two reasons. Firstly, it is simply not true that alcohol makes Billy takes action; it does not replace his sober agency in committing the rape. Secondly, the rape is only the first piece (and, arguably, the less important one) in the play’s villainy. The real...
The end:
Drinking should therefore be looked at as a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. Drinking is, for the men, a temporary escape from the realization that they are nobodies, both in the larger scheme of things and even in the bosom of their own families, which, despite their patriarchal gestures, they are helpless to control. When Billy states that he doesn’t care whether he drinks in a beer parlour or at home (“Beer’s – beer,” 10) he is hinting at the function of beer as an anesthetic, not as one of the props of gaiety or communion with friends.
For these reasons, then, drinking and drunkenness should not be construed as the villains of Wedding in White.
Fruet, William. Wedding in White. Alberta: Dundurn Press, 1974.