Posted at 12.16.2018
Throughout a lot of his reports in his book "Emperor of mid-air" writer Ethan Canin explores the theme of pleasure in relation to his characters. Depending on which source one uses, pleasure runs from the "quality or condition to be happy" to "circumstances of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense delight" and in line with the Oxford British Dictionary "Good fortune or fortune in life or in a particular affair; success, prosperity". Based on this, joy is subjective to the average person. Every storyline in the book deals with the theme in its various forms but the three pieces I'll examine each deal with this subject matter and its various meanings in their own ways, and Personally i think will be the best representations of "happiness".
In his second story "The Year of Getting to Know Us" Canin presents the idea of happiness directly and incredibly matter-of-factly. Canin first questions the happiness of Lenny while he's at the advisors when he is asked "You sound as if you don't want to let people near youRight?" and Lenny responds with "I'm a relatively happy man" (Canin 26). After scanning this, we get a feeling that maybe Lenny is resting, that he is holding something back. How do someone be happy, going through what he has, and can continue to go through? The happenings that are explained further in the storyplot: his fathers fatality and his wife's affair, impose upon this question further. On the next page Lenny continues on to talk about his life stating "I am struck by the nice fortune of my entire life" (Canin, 1988). Perhaps Lenny truly is happy, as he early on states an exact definition of the word in his considered "good fortune". Despite all of that has took place in his life, he remains optimistic, and believes himself to be happy, and perhaps he is.
The opposition to Lenny's noticeable joy is the nearly constant "nagging" he obtains questioning his feelings and capability to feel some thing. Canin mentions such an instance immediately after mentioning Lenny's fortune in life when he claims "Anne says that I don't feel things" (Canin 27). Lenny never questions if if he is able to "feel", but also never is out of his way showing any emotion other than stating that he is indeed happy. Even after witnessing his wife's affair firsthand, the only way Lenny can exhibit himself is by writing down on the napkin "you are a 40 calendar year old man without children as well as your wife is having an affair" (Canin, 1988). Lenny's apparent insufficient any emotion that could come in a natural way to anyone in the same circumstance is quite interesting and leaves the reader questioning his emotions, if he has any. Another point in time where Lenny's feelings are under flame comes when he's a kid and his mom asks him if he is irritated and he responds with "I don't know" (Canin, 1988). This shows the audience that even though he was young, Lenny was indecisive about his feelings, and whether or not he thought anything. Canin leaves your choice of whether or not this persona is happy or if they can feel, up to the reader.
I assume that Lenny is and was happy, and wish person may not show outward expressions of feeling, or whether they know just what they are feeling at a given time or not, will not mean they aren't happy or unable to feel. Lenny has more than likely felt very conflicted about things as is mentioned by Canin nearby the end of the story after Lenny's father has passed away "But I didn't feel what I thought I'd. Just the breeze on my neck, the chill of the day. " (Canin 40). Given such circumstances it is easy to see why some may view him as being unhappy or without sensing completely, but with that said, it is all subjective.
"Lies" is the third tale in Canin's collection and unlike "THE ENTIRE YEAR of Getting to learn Us" it generally does not introduce the concept of joy quite as clearly. From the 1st paragraph we visit a certain sense of naivety about the character Jack port, which is no more noticeable than when he says to himself "Some folks my age are kids, but I'm eighteen and getting married and that's a large difference" (Canin, 1988). This thought exclusively says a great deal about Jack port, and what he must be telling himself delight is, and what delight can be. We do not yet know that Katy, his sweetheart, is pregnant, or that he's soon to be a father. Canin will not tell the audience this outright, but clues at it, and leaves the audience to question Jacks motives, and his state of mind. Jack is trying to influence himself that things are good, and this everything will be O. K. but the truth of the matter is, that things will most likely not be good, and he will not want to recognize this. He selects to reside in as soon as, and sits to himself to be happy.
Jack does not have any problems lying down and Canin offers us an example of this when Katy says that she loves him, and Jack port says to himself "I don't head lying, but not about that" as though to say that it's O. K. to lie about some things, but not about others (Canin 50). When Jack does inform Katy that he enjoys her, it comes at the end of the storyline and almost seems pressured, as though even he doesn't believe it and the lies he has been revealing to himself are needs to fade through. For some time jack port is happy, but it is only a bogus sense of joy because he previously to lie to himself, were required to trick himself into believing it. He acted with techniques he normally never could have, and had to pay with the lies.
A question you need to take into consideration when considering Jacks situation is "should he be happy"? Does indeed jack have to be happy by whatever means necessary, even if it means lying down to himself without mind of the repercussions? The response to this is yes. Jack realizes his situation, as Canin expresses "I think about how exactly this little with Katy started and exactly how fast it's removed, and it kind of stuns me that is what took place, that of all the ways a life can change out this is actually the way mine will go" (Canin 52). Despite his circumstances Jack port chooses to stay positive about his future, and should go concerning this by laying to himself, hence the name of the storyline; "Lies".
"Pitch Storage area" is similar to "THE ENTIRE YEAR of Getting to Know Us" in a couple of ways. Both of the key characters insist they are happy, both have "dilemmas" they need to triumph over, and both have people in their lives who consider they are not happy. Lenny had both his mother and wife, and the primary persona of "PM", who's suspiciously nameless, has her klepto-mother.
Canin gives us insight into why she might not exactly be happy through a first person narrative perspective. Through this perspective it is not really necessary to know her name, and was a smart decision on Canins part because we are able to keep an objectionable distance from the character. Although we do not know her name, we can say for certain about her family and her job, as Canin states on webpage one-hundred "Tessa is a heart and soul surgeon" and "I am a waitress" (Canin 100). From here we can see as to the reasons she may be not as happy as what she says or considers, but again, does ones job really determine ones overall joy? The response to this is not any, people can love their job but nonetheless be unpleasant and vice-a-versa. It does not matter that she actually is a waitress, but this is a fact that her mom cannot seem to grasp.
I have handled similar issues in my life. I once told my mother that I would be perfectly pleased with a "career" at Pizza-Hut, as long as I was able to live how I needed. Granted this is a lay, but I used to be trying to make a point, and she realized this. Sometimes it requires people just a little longer to come around, but if they truly care; they'll. The first example Canin provides of her mothers thoughts occurs when she obtains a phone call from one her fathers old acquaintances who said "Your mother is concerned about what you're doing with your daily life". This shows not only that her mother cares about her life, but also that she is still somewhat baffled as to how someone could be happy "serving pancakes". She actually goes on to tell her mother immediately that she is happy as Canin illustrates "I'm happy, Mother. I don't want another job, I don't need a husband. I'm happy" (Canin 107). With this Canin immediately tells us that she is happy, as she lists reasons to her joy, and provides her a unique sense of logic about any of it. People make their own pleasure, there is no "standard" as to what constitutes being happy. Thanksgiving meal is when she proclaims her enjoyment just as before during dialogue with her mom:
My Mom asks the waiter whether he heads focusing on Thanksgiving Day and he says her that everybody's surely got to earn a living.
"That is right, " my mother says when the waiter leaves.
"Mother, I am earning a living. "
"Are you going to serve pancakes the rest you will ever have?"
"I believe I am going to, " I say, which makes my mother start to cry
(Canin, 1988). This is the most obvious declaration of joy in the complete book, as she actually is able to securely stand her surface and inform her mom that she actually is happy, and will continue steadily to do why is her happy, whether it is portion pancakes or cleaning the bathing rooms at the restaurant.
Canin's theme of pleasure in each of these stories takes on its own varieties, and leaves the viewers asking themselves questions about their own enjoyment. He addresses if one can be happy despite the gravest of circumstances, whether joy can be attained by lying down to oneself, in case someone can be happy despite devoid of the best standing up in life and by doing what they love to do. He addresses each story with a realistic yet optimistic viewpoint on the subject, and is able to maintain it to the last phrase in each.