The Basketball Diaries Essay

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Poquette has a bachelor's degree in English and specializes in writing about literature. In the following essay, Poquette discusses Carroll's use of extremes in The Basketball Diaries.

Jim Carroll fills his autobiographical diaries with graphic language and imagery and includes situations that take the reader from one extreme emotion to another. Says Jamie James, in his 1980 review of the book for American Book Review, "When it is funny it is hilarious, reminiscent of Lenny Bruce at his best. When it hits a blue note, it is harrowing."

An example of a hilarious incident is Carroll's observation of the melodrama during a going-away party for Gums, a local military recruit. Gums's family makes a big fuss about his potentially dangerous involvement in the Vietnam War, but Carroll finds out that the boy is really only going to serve six months in a local reserve unit. As Carroll notes, "from...

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This section contains 1,487 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Basketball Diaries Study Guide
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The Basketball Diaries from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.