Alcohol Vs. Coffee: Literary Reaction "The Sweet Term Paper

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Alcohol vs. coffee: Literary reaction

"The sweet Poison of the Treacherous Grape/....Drowning our very Reason and our Souls." The 18th century marked the beginning of what would come to be known as the neoclassical era of art and literature. It was the era of satire, marked by a belief in reason over emotion, an age which prized what was artificial, man-made and constructed over what was natural and instinctive. It was also the era of coffee and the coffee house. In this poem, coffee is celebrated as a beverage that sharpens the intellect, rather than dulls it like alcohol, the 'poison' that drowns reason. Throughout the poem, a dichotomy of coffee vs. alcohol is created. The values of the Age of Enlightenment are exemplified in this contrast, as well as many of the literary features of the era, including rhyming couplets, metrical verse, and poems that 'say' what they mean rather than are subtle and elusive in their textual content.

Alcohol is said to muddy the brain and lead to "Drink, Rebellion, and religion too" (i.e., emotional excess). In contrast, coffee (which is called truly 'heaven sent') is the "All-healing-Berry, / At once to make us both Sober and Merry." Coffee embodies the values of moderation, versus the previous era of political as well as religious extremism. "COFFEE arrives, that Grave and wholesome Liquor,/That heals the Stomack, makes the Genius quicker, / Relieves the Memory, Revives the Sad,/And cheers the spirits, without making Mad." Coffee provides the pleasure of quickening the mind rather than dulling it, and has medicinal benefits that alcohol lacks. Alcohol is associated with "Vapors" (which were thought to cause diseases) while coffee heals. A substance that makes someone out-of-control is to…

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