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The Happy Man Essay

1160 words - 5 pages

“The Happy Man” by Naguib Mahfouz
Isaac Duchesne

* Author Background
* Plot Summary
* Literary Devices
* Narrative Elements
* Overall Message
* Questions
* Discussion

Author Background

Naguib Mahfouz started writing when he was seventeen years old and is now respected throughout Arabic writing. Such as novels “The Children of Gebelawi (1959), Small Talk on the Nile (1966), and Miramar (1967). He often uses allegory and symbolism in his stories to address concerns. Mahfouz won the Noble Prize for literature in 1988. (Born Cairo, Egypt 1911)

Plot Summary

“The Happy Man” is a about a man who ...view middle of the document...

This caused the happy man to burst out in laughter and ends the story.

Literary Devices

* The title itself is ironic. “The Happy Man” in the story isn’t actually happy at all. He has suffered from grief, which has caused him to lose his mind. This had caused him to change his personality and to be happy all the time. This leads to have to see numerous doctors.

* It is ironic that he claims to be inconceivably happy yet he questions it. He asks his servant if he is happy. “Tell me, “Uncle” Bashir, am I a happy man?” (pg.236) The man’s happiness then scares him and makes him go see doctors. “ I haven’t come to see you because I’m ill but because I’m happy!” (pg.240)

* “His heart was overflowing with love for people, animals and things, and with an all-engulfing sense of optimism and joy.” This is an exaggeration to show how “happy” the main character is. (pg.235)
* “Even more important than that, and something he could not analyze, it was a feeling which penetrated to every cell of his body and soul; it played a tune full of delight, pleasure, serenity, and peace, and hummed in its incredible melodies the whispering sound of the world, which is denied to the unhappy.” Once again the author uses this quote to show how “happy” the main character is. (pg.235)
* “If it did, man would be turned into an angel or something even higher.” (pg.235)
* “Weather to fill your heart with happiness.” (pg.237)
* “…the psychiatrist continued quietly, ‘you dissolved into laughter?...’” (pg.242)
* “He approached him with a pure and carefree heart, feeling drunk with his incredible happiness.” (pg.237)

* “…and hummed in its incredible melodies the whispering sound of the world, which is denied to the unhappy.” (pg.235) This is personification because the author is giving human like qualities (in this case whispering) to an inanimate object. (in this case the world)

* “How could he possibly write about a trolley bus falling into the Nile when he was so intoxicated by this frightening happiness?” (pg.239) The allusion in this quote is the “Nile”. The Nile is one of the largest rivers in the world that runs through Africa.

* Though out the story there are many references to drugs and alcohol, which could symbolize a way...

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