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Author Topic: Characters on Drugs: Drug usage hiding behind the Cuckoo  (Read 1517 times)

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September 28, 2013, 07:32:16 PM


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Characters on Drugs:  Drug usage hiding behind the Cuckoo?

It is interesting that a good number of characters from The Cuckoo’s Calling have had previous or current issues with drugs.   J.K. Rowling delves into the look at drug addiction from all levels.   From the local street dwellers to the wealthy, she enhances the issue of drugs as a real part of her characters lives.  The ability or lack of ability to control their addictions pops up throughout the story line.

1)   Does the drug usage influence the storyline?

2)   Does the drug habit pose a positive or negative effect to the characters’ creditability with the information Strike gains?

3)   What differences do you see between the classes in their usage and treatment.

« Last Edit: September 29, 2013, 06:26:09 PM by ginginkat »

October 04, 2013, 11:45:19 PM
Reply #1


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1)   Does the drug usage influence the storyline?

I know this is going to sound really stupid but other than the fact that the lady in the middle story of the building was setting up to do a line of coke at the time of Lulu's death - I didn't notice the drug usage at all! So I would say no to this question. I guess I have just become hardened to the fact of drug usage in celebrities lives(?). It honestly never crossed my mind that the drug usage was something that was influencing the characters that much ....
October 05, 2013, 06:01:07 PM
Reply #2


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1)   Does the drug usage influence the storyline?

I know this is going to sound really stupid but other than the fact that the lady in the middle story of the building was setting up to do a line of coke at the time of Lulu's death - I didn't notice the drug usage at all!
There is reference to other illegal use, Lula herself had previously had drug problems, and it was part of Evan Duffield's alibi. There are a few cases of legal drug use, such as by Lula's mother who perhaps has more valium than she should.

The main use of drug in the storyline is to suggest unreliability, undermining the account of the only person who heard the attack on Lula, and as part of Evan Duffield's rather shaky alibi.
November 26, 2013, 11:04:20 PM
Reply #3

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I was surprised at just how many characters used and/or abused drugs and alcohol.  Lula and Rochelle had been addicts that met in rehab.  Duffield (I think) had a heroin habit; Tansy Bestigui preferred cocaine.  Both of Lula's mothers had issues -- Yvette took way too much Valium, and Marlene starts drinking early in the day.  We even see Strike using alcohol to drown his sorrows (and cigarettes to calm his nerves).  I suppose one way this theme is used in the book is to show us what each characters relationship to drugs reveals about them.  For example... Duffield was trying to kick his drug habit out of respect for Lula; it seemed that he really cared about her and wanted to change his life.  Neither Yvette nor Marlene were likely to change their habits, but Yvette was dying from cancer, so most readers will find her Valium use understandable.  Strike knew both how to just have a casual pint  :harryronbb: and how to get totally pissed, but he also knew exactly how to rapidly recover from a hangover and get back to business.

It's also interesting to look at how readers (and other characters) look at addicts of different class levels.  Probably few people would bat an eyelash to know that someone as wealthy as Tansy Bestigui had a coke habit, and my guess is that fewer people would judge her for it than say, Marlene, the lower-class alcoholic.  And how many of Lula's friends were uncomfortable with her friendship with Rochelle; even though Lula was recovering from the same drug issues as Rochelle was, no one looked down on Lula for being in recovery.   It seems like wealthy and famous get a pass from society for their drug use +/or abuse, but not so for the lower class.

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December 10, 2013, 07:39:56 AM
Reply #4

Eva Hedwig

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Drugs and alcohol are not really the problem, but how the humans acted when they consumed them. Strike and many others drink alcohol its not stigmatized,  and they have no social problems as long as they behave reasonable well and "go on functioning". Marlene is a unlikable person because she hasnt worked on herself and her problems and prefer to try to manipulate  through her beeing and staying miserable.

The rich people we met in the story who are on drugs, are functioning reasonable well and they dont try to cause pity, there is no reason to blame them. They have emotional problems and deal with them through drugs, medicines or alcohol. Who are we to say that it is not right what they consume in oder to lower their stress level ?

It is not true that rich people in the story can do whatever they want to without beeing critized or manipulated by others. Lula was not taken seriously because of her medical treatments, Tansy was not listened to properly because the police found coke in her bathroom, John was taking control over his mother through her drug abuse and he used this argument to downgrade his mother's judgement and will. (interfere with visits, manipulate hours and stories).
February 11, 2014, 12:06:30 AM
Reply #5


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I'm not sure I can explain why, but I was more bothered by the ubiquitous cigarette smoking rather than the drug or alcohol use in the story.  The drug and alcohol were at least looked upon in a negative way, whereas smoking seemed like an important or even desirable part of social gatherings and almost everybody did it frequently, including (or maybe especially) Cormoran.