Happy Endings by Margaret Atwood is a demonstration of how difficult it is to achieve happiness. Things look very well on one end but on the other end, it is very difficult and glum. In the beginning, things look up and it seem like everything is going to be okay but life takes a dramatic turn. Atwood communicates that the chances of achieving the desired level of comfort are very low. On the other hand, some people like in the John and Mary in the first scenario are lucky. The rest have to live with what they have because they it is not their fault, it is just life. Human life revolves around the quest of achieving happiness. However, the down side is that the contentment of an individual is based on the actions of another person. True happiness should be achieved from personal contentment. Seeking gratification from others can be very disappointing.
In the narrative, version A is the measure of perfection. Everything happens as planned, the characters have a wonderful life, and they live happily ever after. Version A is a state of utopia. It is rarely achieved. All of the people involved in romantic entangles envision the version as the expected course of life. However, in the perfection, Atwood paints a picture of routine and it turns out to become boring. Everything seems to be “Stimulating and challenging” (Atwood 487). John and Mary are happily married with children but there life seems to be incomplete because there is no excitement. Therefore, happiness is impossible to achieve even with perfection.
Version B of the passage is very difficult for Mary. She has devoted everything to John but he does not appreciate her. John is not interested in what makes Mary happy and Mary does not speak out, “He merely uses her body for selfish pleasure” (Atwood 487). Mary lives her life with the hope that John will wake up one day as a changed man and then she will be happy. In version C, John is a married man and he is not happy with his wife Madge, he finds Mary much more exciting. On the other hand, Mary entertains John’s advances but she prefers James. Here, John has a loving wife but he chooses to look for love elsewhere. In the two versions, we see people suffer because of the poor choices that they have made.
In version D, Fred and Madge have made the perfect choices in life and they love one another, “Fred and Madge have no problems” (Atwood 489). Life is going on great but a natural calamity strikes. They lose their house and they are lucky to be alive. Now, if their happiness was based on the value of property they have then it is gone. In version E, Fred develops a bad heart and Madge has to deal with the torture of seeing him suffer until he finally dies. The correct choices were made but happiness is still evading. Version F shows that all the versions have a loop that leads to version A. Happiness is not a matter of choices or perfection, it is a matter of time and chance.
Happiness in life is only achievable by making the best out of every moment. Total happiness cannot be achieved. Disappointments should serve a signal to seek better thing in life. An individual cannot hold on to disappointment for very long. Eventually, it weighs him or her down and they lose their value for life. Therefore, because happiness is a mirage, people should lower their expectation of life to avoid catastrophic disappointments.
Atwood, Margaret. “Happy endings.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing (1983): 485-491.
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