Analytical Essay

Analytical Essay
Analytical Essay
In the short story “More and More,” Evelyn Lau begins by lamenting about the high
expectations that her parents had as she grew up in a Chinese traditional culture. There is a lot of
conflict between herself and her parents. The communication between herself and her parents
was abysmal. Even though Lau perceives that her parents did not love her the way she thought
they should, it is evident throughout the story that her parents were caring. Although, she does
not see it that way; instead, she feels that her parents expected too much from her and that she
was always failing them as a daughter. “The frustration of never being good enough, of knowing
I could never please my parents by winning a scholarship to medical school, of realizing that the
life they wanted for me was not one I was capable of living.” (Lau, 2001, p. 88) In addition to
Lau not feeling good enough in terms of the relationship with her parents, she also sees her
addiction as something bigger than she felt she had control over. She wanted to create the perfect
image of herself for her parents and live the kind of life that they wanted her to live, which was
the root of her craving to become perfect. The struggle for perfection clings to the untrue self,
and this act causes Lau to become more obsessed with pleasing others, as opposed to living as
herself. Throughout the story (and into adulthood) Lau struggles with multiple forms of
addiction, but all of the sources of addiction stem from her anxiety, which surrounds her fear of
revealing her true self.
“I sought through drugs to be somebody else – anybody else.” (Lau, 2001, p. 89). This
indicates the things she did in secrecy so that she could please her parents. Her parents are not
fully aware of her addictions at first. Through the use of drugs, she wanted to become somebody
else. By taking drugs, she could achieve the false sense that she did not have to be herself
anymore at least for a little while (when high). In her story “More and More”, Lau (2001) says
I binged on these drugs, finding a more complete oblivion through chemicals, a more extensive
loss of self, of memory and pain.” (p. 92) Lau (2001) also commented that sometimes after a
binge she would believe that the next day she would wake up and be perfect at last. (p. 88) Of
course, she never changed overnight, which only prolonged her battles with addiction.
From a young age, Lau was living with anxiety. This anxiety also brought along the
struggles of rage. While reminiscing about a food binge earlier in her life, Lau (2001) comments
that the binging helped to dissipate her strong emotions; she specifically says The storm of
anxiety, of helpless rage, had passed for the time being.” (p. 88). This demonstrates that even at a
young age Lau was coping with her anxiety and rage emotions through addiction. The anxiety is
described as a feeling that begins to build and becomes desperation with some elements of anger
within her. (Lau, 2001, p. 94). “The urge was to keep going until the anxiety and rage stopped,
until as a teenager I threw up or passed out or felt so blank that I no longer was myself. (Lau,
2001, p. 89) Again, she used compulsion and binging in order to not deal with her emotions of
rage and anxiety. Her addictions can be understood through the realization that she is trying to
mask the anxiety and rage, which was the result of her desire to be perfect, but not being able to
fulfill that need. She was fearful of revealing her true self - who she believed was not perfect.
Lau presents her story as if it is her parents’ fault that she has addictions. While her relationship
with her parents makes her struggles more difficult, what actually brings Lau down are her own
beliefs surrounding how she is not perfect. She is afraid to let her true self-be revealed because
she is scared it isn’t good enough. Ultimately, this leads to her struggle with anxiety and anger
which in turn causes her to turn to various forms of addictions throughout life.
In the end, Lau seems to have strengthened her emotional coping mechanisms. “I don’t
lose myself that way anymore.” (Lau, 2001, p.94). Through her quest for satisfaction and finding
pleasure in the world around her, she learns to live more for herself. Even though it seems that
she is compelled to live her life in response to the manner that her mother expects her to live, she
is independent. The story concludes by explaining that Lau learns to deal with her anxiety. Lau
(2001) says I often eat too much to quell some anxiety or emptiness, but now I can usually stop
it from escalating into the sort of frenzy that leads to forced vomiting.” (p. 95) Lau discovered
that she can still live in the world, being driven by something larger than just the need to be
someone else. With this new-found control over her own life, anxiety and rage has lessened and
has resulted in much better control over her compulsion, and her own life.
Lau, E. (2001). More and More. In L, Crozier & P, Lane (Ed.), Addicted. (pp. 83 96).
Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre Publishing.

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