Analysis of Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption as Depicted in The Film, Smoke Signals

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 891 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Words: 891|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Dec 12, 2018

Argument Essay: Alcohol

In the movie “Smoke Signals”, directed by Chris Eyre, Victor and Thomas, two childhood friends who grew up on an Indian reservation together, travel across the country to retrieve Victor’s father’s ashes. Victor’s father, Arnold, had saved them both from a fire when they were both children, even though Thomas’ parents were killed in the fire. Arnold was a hero in Thomas’ eyes, but seen as a violent alcoholic in Victor’s. When Victor gets to Phoenix, he meets one of his father’s friends, Suzy. She tells Victor that Arnold had accidentally set off the fire with fireworks when he was drunk. In the article “Cognitive Impairment due to Alcohol Abuse: Current Stats of Research”, contributors U. Pikirenia, I. A. Fedotov, O.D. Tuchina, A. Kapytau explain the cognitive effects of alcohol abuse. Both the movie and this article stress the effects of heavy alcohol use on a person. With such negative impacts and high usage across the nation, alcohol should be legally controlled or banned in the US.

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This article explains the many cognitive impairments that come with alcohol abuse. It explains that “Changes in the cognitive functioning were found in 50–80% of alcohol-dependent patients displaying no signs of neurologic complications.” (268). These effects included memory deficits and issues in the overall function of their cognition. As supported by the article, alcoholism has a heavy effect on the mind, which is reflected in the movie. Arnold’s decision making was influenced because he was intoxicated and caused him to burn down the house in the beginning of the film, killing Thomas’ parents. In our country, crimes and accidents occur everyday because someone is under the influence of alcohol. If alcohol is limited and controlled, the possibility of these events occurring would drop and our society would become safer overall.

Another negative effect of alcohol is the impact it has on families. One of the main reasons Arnold left his family was because of alcohol. In the movie, Victor dislikes when his parents are drunk, and expresses this when he throws the beer bottles against the truck. When his mother notices, she yells at Arnold to stop drinking, which causes him to hit her and leave the family. This scene focuses on two aspects of alcoholism’s effect on families. Firstly, the correlation of alcohol consumption to domestic violence. Not only is Arnold shown hitting his wife during the film, but there is also a scene in which Victor is a victim of his father’s domestic violence. Many families are plagued by the same domestic violence issues shown in the film. In the story “What You Pawn I Will Redeem”, by Sherman Alexie, the main character, Jackson, describes a much more extreme case of interfamily violence, caused by the intoxication of his great-uncle, that led to the death of his grandfather. As his grandfather was attempting to settle a domestic abuse between Jackson’s great-uncle and his girlfriend, his “… great-uncle reached down, pulled [his] grandfather’s pistol out of the holster, and shot him in the head.” (24). Jackson explains that his great-uncle never even figured out why he killed him, furthermore proving the effect that intoxication has on a person’s mind. Alcoholism’s effect on one’s decision making lead to this issue, when a person would usually never do such a thing if they were sober. The effects of excessive alcohol also influence other aspects of a family as well. Alcohol can affect and alter a person’s personality while both under the influence and sober. In the movie, even though he was sober at the time, Arnold’s dependence on alcohol caused him to leave his family. The excessive use of alcohol causes many divorces in the US, which is reflected in the movie.

There are several solutions to this issue. One of the solutions that could solve the excessive use of alcohol is the prohibition of alcohol across the country. This is one of the most controversial solutions to the issue because many people argue that freedom of choice is essential in a free country, but it could also be argued that the safety and the health of others is much more important. Prohibition has been attempted in the US before, but restricting the sale of alcohol just led to the illegal production and transportation of alcohol instead. Therefore, for prohibition to work, the government would have to make sure to be more strict and punishing than they had been before. Another fix that could be introduced is a tax to all intoxicating liquors. While it wouldn’t prohibit all consumption of liquor, it would definitely reduce it. This could lower the rate of excessive alcohol usage. However, depending on how extreme the tariff is, heavy alcohol usage could still be prevalent in the country.

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Overall, alcoholism is a major issue in the US and other countries as well. This problem is shown in the movie “Smoke Signals” through the character Arnold and his relationship with his wife and child. Alcohol not only affects a person’s cognitive abilities and their decision making, but also greatly affects the people around them, specifically their family. This leads to increased rate of both crime, domestic abuse, and divorce. If action is not taken to control the alcohol usage in America, these issues will continue to plague our country and the rest of the world as well.

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Analysis of Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption as Depicted in the Film, Smoke Signals. (2018, December 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“Analysis of Dangers of Excessive Alcohol Consumption as Depicted in the Film, Smoke Signals.” GradesFixer, 11 Dec. 2018,
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