Saturday, February 29, 2020
Book Emperor Of The Air English Literature Essay
Book Emperor Of The Air English Literature Essay Throughout many of his stories in his book Ã¢â¬Å"Emperor of the AirÃ¢â¬ author Ethan Canin explores the theme of happiness in relation to his characters. Depending on which source one uses, happiness ranges from the Ã¢â¬Å"quality or state of being happyÃ¢â¬ to Ã¢â¬Å"a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joyÃ¢â¬ and according to the Oxford English Dictionary Ã¢â¬Å"Good fortune or luck in life or in a particular affair; success, prosperityÃ¢â¬ . Based on this, happiness is subjective to the individual. Every story in the book deals with the theme in its various forms but the three pieces I will examine each deal with this subject and its various definitions in their own ways, and I feel are the best representations of Ã¢â¬Å"happinessÃ¢â¬ . In his second story Ã¢â¬Å"The Year of Getting to Know UsÃ¢â¬ Canin introduces the idea of happiness directly and very matter-of-factly. Canin first questions the happiness of Lenny while he is at the counselors when he is asked Ã¢â¬Å"You sound as if you donÃ¢â¬â¢t want to let people near youÃ ¢Ã¢â ¬Ã ¦Right?Ã¢â¬ and Lenny responds with Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬â¢m a reasonably happy manÃ¢â¬ (Canin 26). After reading this, we get a sense that maybe Lenny is lying, that he is holding something back. How can someone be happy, going through what he has, and will continue to go through? The events that are explained further in the story: his fathers death and his wifeÃ¢â¬â¢s affair, impose on this question further. On the very next page Lenny goes on to talk about his life saying Ã¢â¬Å"I am struck by the good fortune of my lifeÃ¢â¬ (Canin, 1988). Perhaps Lenny truly is happy, as he early states an exact definition of the word in his thought of Ã¢â¬Å"good fortuneÃ¢â¬ . Despite all that has happened in his life, he remains optimistic, and believes himself to be happy, and maybe he is. The opposition to LennyÃ¢â¬â¢s apparent happiness is the nearly consta nt Ã¢â¬Å"naggingÃ¢â¬ he receives questioning his emotions and ability to feel anything at all. Canin mentions such an instance immediately after mentioning LennyÃ¢â¬â¢s good fortune in life when he states Ã¢â¬Å"Anne says that I donÃ¢â¬â¢t feel thingsÃ¢â¬ (Canin 27). Lenny never questions whether or not if he is able to Ã¢â¬Å"feelÃ¢â¬ , but also never goes out of his way to show any emotion other than stating that he is indeed happy. Even after witnessing his wifeÃ¢â¬â¢s affair firsthand, the only way Lenny can express himself is by writing down on a napkin Ã¢â¬Å"you are a 40 year old man with no children and your wife is having an affairÃ¢â¬ (Canin, 1988). LennyÃ¢â¬â¢s apparent lack of any emotion that would come naturally to anyone in the same circumstance is quite intriguing and leaves the reader questioning his feelings, if he has any. Another moment where LennyÃ¢â¬â¢s feelings are under fire comes when he is a child and his mother asks him if he is angry and he responds with Ã¢â¬Å"I donÃ¢â¬â¢t knowÃ¢â¬ (Canin, 1988). This shows the reader that even though he was young, Lenny was indecisive about his feelings, and whether or not he felt anything. Canin leaves the decision of whether or not this character is happy or if he can feel, up to the reader.