The Happiest Boy in the World Essay

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The Happiest Boy in the World Essay

By | October 2012
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In the story, The Happiest Boy in the World, by the late Filipino author, N.V.M. Gonzalez, a man writes a simple letter to his landlord, inquiring about possible accommodations for his son. Throughout the story, the father thinks of his son, and of his old landlord, and wonders if the landlord will agree to take on the boy as a boarder, so that he can attend a school in town. The father is very poor, and his mean circumstances grate on him and he puts pen to paper and attempts to beg his old landlord for more charity. Memories

Occasionally, as he writes the letter, the father stares over at his young and innocent son, who slumbers by a bag made of burlap. The smells of poverty assail the father's nostrils as he scratches out word after word, trying to say just the right thing. During the writing of the letter, memories of his own experiences with the landlord, who was generous with rice, but demanded twice its value at payback time, pop into his mind, coloring his moods and emotions. All of this time, as he struggles with memories and tries to express himself for the sake of his son, his good nature and pure heart are obvious to the reader. Hope and faith

After finishing the letter, the father asks a worker to take it into town and deliver it to the landlord personally. In time, the father's son grows very curious about the contents of this letter, and he finds a way to sneak off and read it. As he sees what his father is trying to do for him (to give him a better life, and allow him to get schooling that will help to release him from the endless cycle of poverty), he feels a glow in his heart, and soon realizes that he is indeed, the happiest boy in the world.

However, we are left hanging, since we never do find out if the landlord agrees to the father's proposed scenario. Rustic and beautiful, this very short story has authenticity, and it is quite touching in its own way.

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