The Happy Man by Naguib Mahfouz

In literature, there are lots of stories about misery, pain, and unhappiness. In fact, it is difficult to find a character whom you can call absolutely happy. However, the short story by an Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz is an exception. The Happy Man is a story with a deep message.

The main character of this short story wakes up one day and realizes that he is utterly happy. He works as a writer for a local newspaper, and the job seems to bring him joy. Through the course of the day, all his decisions are the reflection of his state, and the overwhelming happiness is determining all events of his life. It is obvious that happiness is the leading theme of the story.

However, does perfect happiness exist? Is it even possible in our harsh modern reality? The example of the main character of The Happy Man proves that it is a myth. According to the story, this state can be achieved only by someone who is able to shut themselves from the world.

In the story, we can see that by trying to retain the blissful feeling of happiness, the man gradually loses connection with other people. He realizes that listening to his friends sharing their problems will spoil his mood, so he decides to avoid socializing. He also builds a wall between himself and everything happening in his own life. Such events as the death of his wife or his son’s decision to move to another country evoke no emotions. Finally, he loses motivation to work, because his job lost its meaning.

The man realizes that his unusual happiness is out of the ordinary and tries to find a reasonable explanation. However, the feeling is so overwhelming that he is not ready to lose it. By trying to stay happy, he automatically deprived himself of simple human happiness. He abandoned his friends and cut off all contacts with them. He quit the job he enjoyed and ended up all by himself in the prison of his own thoughts.

This kind of happiness is temporary and will soon turn into misery and loneliness. No one can be truly happy after completely isolating themselves from the world.



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