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Total posts: [30]
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Any Potential Problems with This?:

So one of the main characters (this setting has Lots And Lots Of Characters) ends up in a 'Coming-of-Age Story'-like situation. He grew up in a very conservative setting, raised in a religion/society where marriage is used EXCLUSIVELY for procreation and raising children (implying that, yes, they're against homosexuallity as well) and followers are expected to completely abstain from alcohol (with emergencies as an exception) He enters an occupation where he can avoid entering an Arranged Marriage and ends up far away from home, still trying to be a pious person by not drinking. He starts to develop feelings for his best friend and (completely unrelated to previous statement) starts to drink occasionally due to lack of clean drinking water. Tragedy strikes, but this brings the two of them together and he and his friend start a relationship. Due to another conflict occuring and the depression caused by previously mentioned tragedy, main character starts drinking heavily in order to cope emotionally. He eventually beats his drinking problem while maintaining his relationship.
  • So obviously I'm researching addiction to ensure I portray that as accurately and not sugar coated as possible, but I feel almost as if it kind of envokes a Slippery Slope Fallacy in a way.
    • "Abandon an (unimportant) tennent of your religion/morals? You'll end up going against everything you once believed in and become The Alcoholic..."
Therefore, it could kind of have an Accidental Aesop in a way. I'd appreciate if anyone could give me any feedback for this.

edited 21st Apr '13 1:52:21 PM by TheMuse

"starts to drink occasionally due to lack of clean drinking water" This is kind of weird. Even if there's no clean water, there has got to be some kind of alternative. Or just a better reason to start drinking. Just because he was raised to be a non-alcoholic that doesn't have to mean he's a anti-alcohol zealot. You can have him be more in the grey and that will make his decision to start drinking heavily a lot more believable. And you wouldn't need to put him in a situation where he's forced to drink. Just have him be in a place where drinking is kind of encourage and have him be like "well, okay, I've never started drinking before but, hey, it's no big deal".

Other than that, it all looks pretty good.
 
But could the fact he wasn't raised alongside alcohol (at least during some early formative years of his life) as being 'not a big deal' (and therefore, not learning exactly what 'drinking in moderation' looks like) kind of be a contributor to his later drinking problems?
  • And also, he'd been living away from home for a few years before he started drinking. Would having him become comfortable with his setting before drinking at a party on a whim or something be unrealistic?

edited 21st Apr '13 2:48:24 PM by TheMuse

 4 Oh So Into Cats, Sun, 21st Apr '13 3:08:13 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Alcohol was traditionally the way that people would deal with not having a guaranteed clean source of drinking water. However it does seem weird because if he didn't have clean drinking water it seems like he would have much bigger problems than the ones described.

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
He was in a situation where boiling water to purify it (although somewhat inconvinient) was quite do-able (he was able to afford to buy tea most of the time, which made it tolerable at least).

 6 Editor Pall Mall, Sun, 21st Apr '13 4:47:27 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
To be honest, this sounds like a tract against Southern/American Christians.
Keep it breezy!
I'm Christian myself, but not raised a Fundamentalist-type one, also not one that abstained from alcohol. (Or Southern-American for that matter) So I can't really call N-Word Privileges on that.
  • But yeah, I worried that could come up. (althought it was completely unintentional)
I don't want to invoke any really noticable Unfortunate Implications if I can help it.
  • If anyone else can see this, PLEASE let me know.
  • Further note: If it makes it any better, the setting is not on Earth and is more ambiguously-European than anything else.

edited 21st Apr '13 5:18:30 PM by TheMuse

Does anyone else see any problems or have any tips to perhaps lighten up the Unfortunate Implications mentioned previously?

 9 Oh So Into Cats, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 7:30:03 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
So if he was able to afford tea and boil water... where is he that alcohol is less expensive than tea?

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 10 Matues, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 9:42:07 AM Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
Plenty of places, depending on the time period.
The rain in Spain tend to drain the brain of sane.
He lives in a setting where air travel doesn't exist yet, so trading isn't super duper convinient and tea is an import to their country. But yeah, many types of alcohol can be made relatively cheaply/convinently in this setting.

 12 Editor Pall Mall, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 3:06:18 PM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Call me crazy, but is it not possible to distill the water from alcohol? This scenario seems very contrived. It would come off better if he simply had a weakness for temporal vices.

Then again, since the moral of the story seems to be 'there is nothing wrong with temporal pleasures; religious taboos are gratuitous restrictions on living a fulfilling life' does not sit well with me regardless.
Keep it breezy!
 13 Madrugada, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 3:09:48 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
It's possible, yes. But not particularly practical. Why add contaminants (in the most technical sense of the word) to the water, brew or distill it to get alcohol, then redistill the alcohol get back the water?
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
 14 Oh So Into Cats, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 3:32:44 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
So why is it such a problem to boil water before you drink it, again?

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
To answer the previous questions:
  • [up]He isn't in the most wealthy/sanitary are;, plus he's educated, he knows that you don't just drink water that's visibly/not visibly but probably dirty.
  • [up][up] The whole 'being raised in a religious enviroment leads to later problems' isn't one of the main morals of the story by any means. This setting also displays a variety of other religions as well, with different taboos, many having no problem with 'carnal' pleasures in moderation.
    • It's not like every single religion in this setting forces you to commit heresy in order to have a fufilling life.

edited 22nd Apr '13 6:39:47 PM by TheMuse

With the previous in mind, does anyone have any tips that could possibly lighten up the Unfortunate Implications or make them a little less noticable.

 17 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 4:49:51 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
I mean what's the problem with him not just boiling the water all the time. Is fuel more expensive than alcohol as well?

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 18 Wolf 1066, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 4:59:13 AM from New Zealand Relationship Status: In my bunk
Wolf1066
I note that pretty much everyone has assumed "distilled spirits" when they read "alcohol" and gone on the "if they can distil spirits, why not just distil the water?" tack.

For quite some time in our own history, people drank beer because the water was too contaminated to drink.

The recipe for the beer they drank involved boiling the mix.

Now, to us 21st-Century types, it's clear that the boiling killed the bacteria and made the resultant beer safe to drink.

However, in Medieval Europe, they didn't know about the bacteria in the water nor that boiling the water killed it - what they knew was the water would make you sicken, beer would not.

And at that time, they didn't even know of coffee, let alone that new-fangled "tea" stuff. The only beverage that used boiling water in its production, was beer.

Depending on the setting, it could be quite plausible that the characters don't know about bacteria or boiling water to get rid of it. They may just use beer made in the same way as it was here on Earth in the Middle Ages.

It's therefore also plausible that a visitor from somewhere (where presumeably the water is not contaminated) that has a cultural/religious restriction on alcohol, may find (s)he has to drink beer in this area because it's the only safe thing to drink.

Therefore it's possible that issues may ensue depending on the person.
Dangerously Genre Savvy since ages ago...
Would it be realistic/acceptable if his friends (who have known him for a couple years and know he doesn't drink) be pleasantly surprised when they learn he has started? Kind of like a A Man Is Not a Virgin type thing, although I dislike the implied gender role, it isn't unrealistic. I want to make it clear that his friends aren't pressuring him to start, especially because of the problems he develops later.
  • Edit: [up][up]Well he can't always afford tea, because he doesn't always have a stable income, plus boiling water all the time can become a big pain. After a while, he thinks 'why not?' and tries alcohol.

edited 23rd Apr '13 7:10:09 AM by TheMuse

 20 Editor Pall Mall, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 8:00:45 AM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Is this conflict the main plot or a subplot in your story?
Keep it breezy!
It's just a subplot

 22 Editor Pall Mall, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 9:18:24 AM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Then perhaps it would be best to drop it. This scenario you trying to create requires a lot of contrivances and if you go through with it I have no reason to care about the relationship that ensues because it is induced by drunkenness (granted, a realistic scenario, but it does not make for a good story). You are also walking a thin line due to the implications of what it says about religious morals if unintentionally.
Keep it breezy!
 23 Madrugada, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 9:30:02 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Nonsense. It's not contrived at all, unless you choose to declare that there's no reason that boiling water or making tea or coffee or some other hot drink wouldn't work as well. As Wolf pointed out, there was a period of history when beer (alcohol) was consumed specifically because the water wasn't safe to drink.
...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
 24 Editor Pall Mall, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 9:54:32 AM from United States, East Coast
Don't Fear the Spiders
Fair enough - but that is Wolf's interpretation. I still feel as though he could have found another way (stock up on water before moving into this area? Drink only as necessary?). It also doesn't work because Tea exists meaning we are in a different time period.

And, contrived or not, that does not make it a very good subplot for other reasons I mentioned.
Keep it breezy!
 25 Oh So Into Cats, Tue, 23rd Apr '13 10:53:36 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
You can't really stock up on water before moving somewhere. You can if you're going to the moon or something but it's insanely difficult for an individual to do.

I still don't understand the time period.

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
Total posts: 30
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