An Analysis of Ellen Hopkins’ Crank
The novel, Crank, by Ellen Hopkins details the inner struggles of a teenager addicted to Methamphetamine. The protagonist, Kristina Georgia Snow, is a depiction of the challenges presented by drug addiction. Even though, the book provides lucid and metaphoric detail regarding the protagonist’s addiction, it is a rather controversial novel. This is because the novel highlights drug abuse and sexuality as its main themes. Nonetheless, the author writes the novel from a personal point of view. Consequently, the novel illustrates the addictions her daughter experienced due to the drug. Regardless of the novel’s controversy, Crank provides intricate and realistic detail regarding drug addiction and its implications in an individual’s life. Therefore, an analysis of the novel examines various factors that define its relevance to its subject audience. Such factors allow the reader to understand the features that capture the respective audience intended by the author.
Ellen Hopkins focuses considerably on a juvenile audience. This is mostly because her protagonist, Kristina Georgia Snow, is only 16 years old. Accordingly, the novel focuses on persons aged 14 and onwards since it illustrates readability and insignificant content aptness. Thus, by understanding the book’s audience, the implied reader is actually an individual within the early teenage years. This is in accordance with the main character, who, is also in her early teenage years. Additionally, the genre also describes the author’s focus on a juvenile audience. Thus, the book embodies realistic fiction. Realistic fiction implies a narrative that is real in life. This is evident since Hopkins bases the book loosely on her daughter’s past addictions. Furthermore, by describing the protagonist’s addiction to meth and its consequences, the author provides a lucid detail of the actual reality characterizing drug addiction.
The author attempts to achieve an informative description of the dangers of drug addiction. Hopkins tries to illustrate the negative shift associated with drug addiction by using a loose example of her daughter’s addiction. Additionally, the author also depicts the negative change associated with drug addiction by illustrating the protagonist’s change within the text. For instance, in the beginning of the novel, Hopkins describes Kristina before her drug addiction. She writes, “there is no perfect daughter, no gifted high-school junior, no Kristina Georgia Snow” (Hopkins 5). This description outlines the dramatic shift towards a destructive personality based entirely on drug addiction. Additionally, Hopkins tries to make the novel informative by allowing the reader to follow through the protagonist’s experiences. By using a free-verse style, the author allows the reader to understand the effects of drug addiction by outlining Kristina’s problems from meth addiction.
The novel illustrates a well-planned narrative taking place in a fictitious setting. Regardless of the author’s main emphasis on the effects of drug addiction, Hopkins also provides a narrative. Additionally, the structure of the novel is in prose. Each chapter within the novel is a poem that reflects a first-hand account of the protagonist’s life before and after addiction to Methamphetamine. Irrespective of the use of prose, each poem connects in the novel in order to provide a sequel of the events characterizing the protagonist’s life from the beginning to the end. Nonetheless, the concept illustrated from the novel illustrates the dangers associated with drug abuse and addiction. Hopkins paints a vivid picture of the implications arising from addiction by using the challenges the protagonist faces after becoming addicted to Methamphetamine.
The author presents the narrative extremely well by using different literary techniques. Foremost, Hopkins makes effective use of free verse in the novel. Every page within the novel represents the protagonist’s life as well as the details regarding her addiction. The language utilized by the protagonist comprises literary tool such as metaphors. For instance, the persona highlights Kristina’s reckless side by stating, “Here is the face I wear, treading the riptide, fathomless oceans where good girls drown” (Hopkins 8). Additionally, the poems in every chapter depict a perceptible visual illustration. This guide assists in triggering emotions and offering powerful messages for the reader. For instance, in the poem ‘Changed’, the section where the protagonist depicts the trouble she was facing from addiction illustrates a Cross.
The use of the Cross as the sole illustration within the novel allows the reader to exercise interest. Additionally, it highlights the evidence of Christian belief within the novel. At the end of the Cross illustration, the persona states that, “If You do still care, Lord, please keep me safe” (Hopkins 207). The representation of the Cross in the stanzas, as well as the statement, illustrates the belief in Christian doctrine. The persona expresses that only spiritual authority can save her from the issues she is encountering from her addiction. Additionally, the previous statement is the most visible due to the outline of the Cross. It allows the reader to understand considerably the inner turmoil Kristina faces from her addiction to Methamphetamine.
Another illustration that the author uses is evident in the poem, ‘Home Sweet Home’. Within the poem, the stanzas outline the contour of a home. On top of the house, Kristina is describing her abode by stating, “Our pretty little place on a hilltop acre, native sandstone and imported compost…” (Hopkins 191). Consequently, a gap broadens as it continues from the middle. The gap creates a pair of splits. On one split, the persona illustrates the manner in which she was. She also describes the house and the way it welcomed her. Thus, Kristina states, “…looked like it welcomed me/looked just the same to me”. The split’s other side makes the persona state, “…looked like it threatened me/looked completely different” (Hopkins 191).
This visual illustration illustrates the psyche of the protagonist. They illustrate the inner sentiments she feels of the objects around her. Since she thinks of her actions as immoral, she also believes that the objects around her view her similarly. Collectively, the use of these visual aids in the book offers the reader an emotional peer into Kristina’s life. Since the readers are capable of seeing what she feels, they are able to become empathic towards Kristina. Thus, the reader is able to visualize the drug addiction and feel the emotions from reliving such an experience. Therefore, the novel proves to be an efficient tool in educating the target audience regarding the risks of drug abuse and addiction. Thus, the use of such illustrations adds the author’s textual objective by conceptualizing the subject matter in detail.
The novel was indeed a good read. The author did not stray from the main subject matter. Additionally, Hopkins also presents the narrative in a realistic manner. By using facts from her daughter’s addiction, the author is able to create a protagonist that will appeal directly to the target audience. Nevertheless, the negative thing about the book is its use of prose language. Even though the book targeted a juvenile audience, the issues it illustrates also affect other older aged individuals. Therefore, the author should make use of a language technique that could also appeal to an older audience. Furthermore, the novel’s maturity supersedes the age of the audience it targets. This is partly due to the content, which focuses much on drugs, promiscuity and ethical concerns regarding pregnancy.
In conclusion, Ellen Hopkins’ Crank elucidates the controversial nature of drugs within the society. By providing a narrative of drug addiction and its implications on young persons, Hopkins provides that the issue of drug abuse and its implications does not only affect older individuals. It also affects the young within the society and necessitates drastic and unchangeable circumstances that will ruin their lives if ignored.
Hopkins, Ellen. Crank. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.