The Happy Man Hy Naguib Mahfouz: The Consequences Of Persistent Happiness

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The happiness in the whole life can take place through a variety of situations. Naguib Mahfouz’s short fiction, The Happy Man, demonstrates the man’s many problems of his happy state. His life has been seriously impacted by his persistent happiness. The first negative effect he has is his daily life as well as his working life. Next, the happiness affects his relationships such as his friends, colleague as well as his family. Finally, the man cannot control his happiness that influences his mental health. It makes his life and his mind have a trouble, however, the narrator cannot control his feeling.

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Throughout the short story, the unnormal sense of happiness is affecting the main character’s life. He has trouble working and sleeping, especially, he cannot feel the same emotions he used to. “He felt drunk with ecstasy and savoured it slowly with a feeling of surprise”. He wakes up with an unthinkable happy atmosphere, however, he does not know that he is experiencing the difficult times in his life. “He could not bear to stay in his office at the newspaper, he felt no desire to work at all” (Mahfouz 239). This quotation shows that he is not excited about his job at the newspaper office anymore and he decides to leave his work to remain his happiness. Moreover, the reader can see the unequability based on the information about his daily life throughout this quotation, “After lunch, he lay down on his bed as usual but could not sleep. In fact, sleep seemed an impossibility to him”. The happiness makes him not be hard to sleep and do everything, it is actually the worst thing. The author wrote, “If this keeps up, he told himself, I won’t be able to sleep, just as I can’t work or feel sad” (Mahfouz 240). This proves that his happiness is extraordinary in comparison with other feelings. The man is an abnormal person based on the information that he has a daily job as well as his family.

Next, the narrator is in denial about terrible things that have happened in his life and his family. “Let him live where he’ll be happy. I’m quite happy here – as you can see, inconceivably happy…” (Mahfouz 237). He does not really care about his son although the son moves to Canada and leaves him alone, also, he just wants to live with his happiness. The author wrote:

For example, he remembered his wife’s death in all its various aspects and details. What had happened? The event appeared to him as a series of movements without any meaning or effect, as though it had happened to some other woman, the wife of another man, in some distant historical age . . . . He could not stop himself laughing, and there he was guffawing, ha. . .ha. . .ha!.” 

The issue shows that he has not been fully upset about his wife’s death. He always laughs about his family’s problems and his colleague who he sees him as a contender at work. “It was as though he were approaching some other man toward whom he had never had any feelings of enmity, or perhaps he might be renewing a friendship again”, the partner is extremely surprised about the man because he has never smiled before. The man is in a bad mental state which is most likely the cause of his happiness.

Finally, the doctors are major information sources for him to explain why he has the unusual expression, however, the man still laughs frenziedly at the irony of his condition. He goes to the second doctor to find out his mental health, however, he laughs “Laughter was his way of expressing his alarm and despair. He left the clinic with the feeling that he was alone, alone . . . , with no helper, no guide, and no friend”. The readers can see that he is an unfortunate man, he smiles in the reality of his situation. Moreover, ““You’re a miracle!” he shouted”, he yelled when the doctor asked about his problems because he believed that the psychiatrist who he came to the last one could figure out his internal emotion. “He smiled, and his smile kept on getting broader. A laugh slipped out, and before long, he was dissolving into laughter” (Mahfouz 243), this quotation shows that he decided to accept his happiness. The happiness makes him lose his mind and not be able to control his deed.

Based on the information about the main character in Naguib Mahfouz’s The Happy Man and his reactions to his problems in life, the reader can see that he is mentally unstable. The short story also shows a variety of negative impacts of persistent happiness. Due to his reactions and harmful influences, we are able to suppose that the protagonist’s happiness is truly a manifestation of his sadness. It is realized that the man seems happy but he is not really happy at all from his hard times. 

10 Jun 2021

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