The Purity of Happiness
The short story The Happy Man written by Maguib Mahfouz is about a protagonist which throughout the story is referred to as the “Happy Man”. The protagonist one day wakes up and finds himself to be “inconceivably happy”, which means this man has the feeling of unbelievable happiness. This is ironic in the sense that Maguib Mahfouz gives the reader clues to what the true situation and meaning of the unbelievable happiness is. It is the mental state known as depression. It is with this the reader is able to grasp the concept 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 one’s 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 his 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...
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