It is with this the reader is able to grasp the incept that true and pure happiness is unachievable and this is because life is filled with sadness as well as happiness. This is proved using the contrasting words or actions/thoughts the “Happy Man” experiences with the emotional state he is currently in, and so pure happiness in this domain is impossible to achieve and being happy one-hundred percent of the time is also not possible. The objective of pure happiness is unobtainable because for that to occur there cannot be a source of sadness.
Since there can never be a moment where you do not experience sadness, it is not possible. That is what it means to be purely happy. At some point in ones life, loss occurs which is a feeling linked with sadness. This is why the ideal of one-hundred percent happiness is not possible because loss is experiences by all. A proof of this thesis is that throughout the story the “Happy Man’s” actions and his emotions are in conflict with each other. His emotions will be expressing happiness, but his thoughts/actions are expression the polar opposite.
In the story the man is known for being a very sour person. This man is regarded by is peers as a person who mostly spends his time alone, and away from the world. It is mentioned throughout the text, and it is a reoccurring theme. Which is why it has startled his peers when this man came into the newspaper office smiling and laughing, even in the direst of circumstances. He has been advised by many to seek professional help for his sadness but did not submit to the requests by those around him.
He did not take anything seriously and could not take anything seriously, whether it was the mention of his son that was studying abroad and living far away from in (it was mentioned to be Canada) or the deaths of countless people from around the world, his sense of seriousness left him. His overwhelming happiness had become his only emotion although at that point he was certain he should not feel happy but instead remorse for those who have died. He should have also felt sad for those involved in tragedies around the world.
In addition the word “guffaw’ appears throughout the text numerously. The word “guffaw” means a loud and boisterous laugh. The word is also more commonly to appear when it is describing the “Happy Man” and his situation in certain mints throughout the story. In the generic sense, when he, “remembered a problem, his heart guffawed”. This word specifically lets the reader know that the laugh is a method to contribute to the mood and overall imagery. It lets the audience know that the “Happy Man” is at the point where he cannot differentiate between happiness and sadness.
There are places in the text where the “Happy Man” says “because am happy! ” this statement is used with the doctors and twice in succession at the internal medicine doctor as if to restate and underline the fact that he is in fact happy. Which is odd because the man himself, who is feeling “inconceivably happy” is also trying to convince himself that he is happy. Since there is a slight doubt within himself which he is completely aware of he is able to understand what he is feeling is not happiness.
Those around him also know that what he is experiencing is not happiness, instead it is the opposite, and it is depression the worst form of sadness that exists. This is related to the thesis because pure happiness is something that cannot attained. Like stated in the thesis statement, there is deadness associated with loss of something. Since he has lost almost everything that holds value on an emotional level (his wife’s passing, his son studying abroad) he has really no reason to be happy, which is where the word “inconceivable” comes to mind as it was mentioned numerous times throughout the story.
The word itself means unbelievable, so to say something is inconceivable means it is unexplainable, in other words the reasons do not add up to the results. It should be noted that when the “Happy Man” visits the psychiatrist for help about the mental state (because al the other doctors could not diagnose him and had recommend he see a psychiatrist) he asks the doctor if he has ever had any patients in his state, if he has had a patient that was “deranged”. It is very interesting that the “Happy Man” uses this word because it lets the readers know the “Happy Man” is concerned about himself.
He is seeking help for being too happy, which was the obvious and the only reason for the trip he believes that he is crazy. Which also adds to the statement that true happiness is impossible and the overall message of the piece. In addition the use of irony is abundant. Maggie Manful uses irony to enforce the ideas and his theme in the story. For example the title itself can be something to explain irony; a man that has lost his mind, someone who is insane is guffawing at every possible thing (his employers, loss of his wife, the incident where adults and kids died) does not seem happy at all.
Furthermore, it is ironic and interesting that the “Happy Man” asks his servant (Basher), “am I a happy man? “, and the servant answers him. It is during this conversation that the readers are able to understand that pure happiness is unattainable. An explicit example from the text is when the “Happy Man” asks his servant about an earlier remark; “complete happiness is an impossible quest. ” To which his servant; Basher replies “that applies to life in general”. Lastly are the illusions that are set within the short story.
It is also a reoccurring theme, although it is not stated explicitly, that such and such are an illusions, the reader is able to infer because of the continual mention of drugs. The happiness that the “Happy Man” experiences is compared to the high experienced when on drugs. This relates to the thesis cause drugs are a temporary source of happiness and an illusion, they only last for a couple hours at the most, and after the high the individual is back at square one.
This is the same as the “Happy Man” because at certain points in the story he is described as being “drunk with happiness” as he approached his co-worker, who he had a history with in the past. It should also be noted that the internal medicine doctor asks him if he is under the influence, stating that the feelings he could have are just illusions and they could be the effects of some type of drug. A relatable aspect to this in the real world is where people take drugs because they think it will help them with coping, or help them though something.
This is related to be thesis that pure happiness in unachievable because of the happiness and sadness that occurs on one’s life. In their high they have known to overdose or do extremely dangerous actions resulting in death. Even try mixtures of drugs to better the effects of the high which usually lead to an overdose. These are all so that particular individual or group is able feel a “pure” happy and experience it, only for it to slip away moment later.
In summation the story “The Happy Man” deals with irony and Maggie Manful uses that literary device to enforce the theme that pure happiness is unattainable. This is because to have nothing but happiness (pure happiness) one must not have the feeling of sadness or have experienced it, like stated in the thesis statement. Throughout the story, the “Happy Man” experiences sorrow which does not fulfill the requirement of “pure happiness”. In conclusion “The Happy Man” short story written by Maggie Manful is about a man who is happy which we later derive to not actually be all that happy.