Junky Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Junky

"Junky" by William S. Burroughs is a bleak take on heroin addicts during the 1940s-50s. The story tells how the main character, William Lee, goes from a middle-class existence in the Midwest to pushing/using drugs in New York City, from morphine to marijuana to cocaine to (mainly) heroin. The book discusses almost every aspect of a junkie's life, from obtaining their drugs, to using them, to avoiding the police, to "Junk Sickness" (withdrawal), to prison time for drug possession, to other vices a heroin junkie will engage in to get drugs (such as prostitution, sodomy, pawning heirlooms). Burroughs discusses most memorably throughout the book how heroin is not "a kick, or a means to increased enjoyment of life. It is a way of life".
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The review of this Book prepared by a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

William Burroughs writes about how he got introduced to drug use. He describes his time in New York City selling morphine and then using it. The story takes the reader through his thoughts and through his journey done to Mexico. He went to Mexico to avoid the law because he shot his wife. In Mexico, he lives a junkie lifestyle and discusses the damage drugs can have on the body. He also participates in homosexual sex.
The review of this Book prepared by Kristy Pastore

Chapter Analysis of Junky

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Plot & Themes

Phys disability/mental struggle?    -   Yes Struggle with    -   drugs Taboo Sex Story?    -   Yes Kind of sex:    -   gay guy Period of greatest activity?    -   1900+

Subject of Biography

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   thief/con artist    -   writer Ethnicity    -   White Nationality    -   American


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Mexico City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York    -   New Orleans Misc setting    -   prison    -   sewers/subways Century:    -   1930's-1950's

Writing Style

Book makes you feel?    -   thoughtful Graphic sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   male homosexuality    -   main character serviced by prostitute If this is a kid's book:    -   Age 16-Adult Pictures/Illustrations?    -   None How much dialogue in bio?    -   significantly more dialog than descript How much of bio focuses on most famous period of life?    -   26-50% of book

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William S. Burroughs Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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