How would one make a thesis statement for alcohol abuse and alcoholism as compensation in The Sun Also Rises?

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Drink plays an integral part in the story. For one thing, it gives these characters something to do. A great deal of the book is concerned with drinking in bars and restaurants and the kind of social performances that go with meeting people and flirting in bars. Drinking, and being drunk, but not disgustingly so, is a kind of unwritten code in the book. A great example of this is in chapter 3, where Jake, Cohn, and Bret all meet at a club, and Jake is introduced to Robert Prentiss. Jake's comment at the start of their brief conversation, that he "was drunk, not in any positive way, but enough to be careless," sums up one of the book's essential attitudes towards alcohol. It is an excuse for bad behavior.

There are many theses you could develop around these issues that could explore the role of drink in the story—drinking as a social ritual, or drinking as a plot device that propels the story, or drinking as a way of circumventing social constraints. One way into this would be to consider what Jake might mean by being drunk in a "positive" way.

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It is important to think about the way in which this text presents us with the various characters roaming around aimlessly in Europe and following their decadent lifestyles. The role of alcohol in this is particularly important as it is an example of the dissolute lifestyle of the various characters as they waste their lives in hedonistic pleasures. However, the one thing that I would take issue with is that alcohol is certainly not the only hedonistic pleasure that the characters indulge in. Brett for example also embarks on a series of affairs that act as a form of compensation as well. Alcohol abuse is certainly one symptom, but it very definitely is not the only one. A thesis statement you could use therefore might be:

Alcohol and its abuse is one of the characteristcs of the dissolute lifestyles of the characters in The Sun Also Rises.

This would allow you to explore the purpose of drinking alcohol and how it fills a void in the lives of the characters in this novel.

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