09-27-2007 10:38 PM
10-04-2007 04:39 PM - edited 10-04-2007 04:49 PM
Other than this comment, an outstanding set-up, Rachel. I look forward to the contributions!
Message Edited by Peppermill on 10-04-2007 04:49 PM
10-25-2007 11:44 PM
10-26-2007 11:48 AM
Main Entry: eu•dae•mo•nism
Variant(s): or eu•dai•mo•nism \-ˈdī-\
Etymology: Greek eudaimonia happiness, from eudaimōn having a good attendant spirit, happy, from eu- + daimōn spirit — more at demon
: a theory that the highest ethical goal is happiness and personal well-being
10-27-2007 09:21 PM
Some of Messud's characters begin the novel in a state of happiness and others attain it, but nearly all of them see their happiness threatened or even shattered. How does this come about? Which of them is the victim of outside forces and which is responsible for his or her fall? How would you describe this novel's vision of happiness? Considering that the typical comedy has a happy (or happy-ish) ending, what do you make of the fact that so many of Messud's characters end up bereft or disappointed?
By the end of the novel, most, if not all of the characters have been greatly changed by personal setbacks and the events of 9/11. Althought the book takes place in a 9 month period, all of the characters seem much more mature by the last chapter. Each has persued something he or she though would bring happiness but were disappointed. I would argue that none of the characters start in a state of happiness, and the main characters do bring about their own problems by chasing after happiness outside of themselves- either in other people and/or in their careers. All are disappointed, but that leads them to a more realistic and mature view of what can bring happiness, and that brings hope by the ending of the book. Marina has finished her book, and has a new sense of confidence not based on her father's opinion of her, and a more realistic view of marriage. Julius is more sober, more cynical; through the healing of his scars and being constantly reminded of what had happened to him he says, "... and then, I think, eventually you get changed , from the outside in, and you have to absorb it, somehow.(page 451) Both Danielle and Bootie leave New York, and move toward facing life on their own terms- Danielle decides New York is her home and returns there to start fresh. Bootie, with a new name and new identity, becomes a person in motion looking to "take them by surprise." So, I would say by the end of the novel, the characters are closer to a more mature and perhaps lasting happiness.