Circus in Town

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Optimism is a strong character trait that one can utilize to help escape their troubles through the power of imagination or guide them to the realization of their potential. This is the case for the protagonists in “Circus in Town”, by Sinclair Ross and “Happiness for Sale”, by Jia Lynn Yang.

Jenny in the short story, “Circus in Town”, lives a poverty stricken life. One day her brother, Tom, comes home with a poster about the circus coming to town. Jenny’s excitement grew with the possibility of being able to just catch a glimpse of the professional entertainers that she envied so much, but she knew her family was not financially stable enough to enjoy the luxury of attending the circus. Even with the mother’s doubt about their ability to escape their debts, Jenny’s optimism and imagination help her escape her reality and embrace the fact that her chaotic family is her own unique version of a circus. The positivity gives Jenny the power to let her hope and have fantasies that allow her to strive for better opportunities.

Chris Garder in “Happiness for Sale” struggled financially as he was a homeless single father. Chris’ determination did not let any obstacles bring him down, instead he found an objective that kept him motivated, such as “the beauty of the [Ferrari]” (7). He questioned the owner’s success, and from that point on, he wanted to become a stockbroker. Chris’ mind set was on one track, he knew his goals and his optimism kept his spirit alive to where he turned his business from a “two-story building that [looked] like a squat glass box” (4) into an entrepreneur who “favours suits and Maui vacations” (11). These inspirations are what gave Chris the strength that he held onto for guidance and led him to reach his goals in a modest way. Which now he shares his life story hoping others will take the opportunity to do good form themselves and others around.

Chris and Jenny both shared the obstacles of poverty and used optimism as a tool of comfort...
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