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Happy Days Question #17 ~ And in the end...

by Laurent Graff

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Happy Days Question #17 ~ And in the end...

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:09 am

Here is your chance, Noodlemantras! Let's talk about the ending of the book. We do have one more question tomorrow...

What did you think of the ending?

What is your overall opinion of the book?
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:23 pm

Yippee! :snoopydances:

I'm sure some of you have been thinking, 'Now what the :censored: is Depputante hinting at, at the end of this :clown: book! ' Ok. First a cup of Jack: :morning:
Then some thoughtful awakening: :banghead: (pre-10am here you know.) Next hopefully a little :-O , then I'm ready to go.
Let me try to write it down so it makes sense. :writer:


We've talked alot of the balance of life. (inside, outside then becoming a whole etc.) (floating, coming down equal, and then.. :hypnotic: ..!!)

We've seen Antoine start of very negatively about his thoughts of society, both inside and outside Happy Days. Then he ceases his 'floating' warms up inside Happy Days, and he ends up as: Despite his best efforts to understand Death, LIFE spits him back OUTSIDE Happy Days! :applause2: :biglaugh:


I think this sums up an absolutely fantastic balance in the book. It is extremely subtle changes throughout the book. I didn't get it untill last week. No matter what you're standpoint is on this life, life changes around you, and puts you back in your spot. (Kind of like what comes around goes around. :-? ) He took the bull by it's horns, and it threw him back OUT, yet onto the same darn bench. (Is it really the same bench? Sure literally it is, but figuratively, he's in the middle of a Children's play area.) Life threw him back out on his :censored: . He's also learned to be much more accepting and has become a part of the outside society. He's with CHILDREN even. Antoine has changed, big time. And life forced that change. (Kind of like a poker game of life.)

What say you? :capnjack:
Last edited by Depputante on Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:53 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Unread postby Liz » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:40 pm

Depputante wrote:Yippee! :snoopydances:

I'm sure some of you have been thinking, 'Now what the :censored: is Depputante hinting at, at the end of this :clown: book! '


I know I was. :-O

I'm off to read the last chapter one more time (that will make 3 times). And then I'll get back to you.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Dec 20, 2006 1:45 pm

Well, most of us have answered this question already, me thinks...
Because I like the book and I like Antoine, the end of the story reminds me of a mythic journey where the traveler comes full circle, ending at the beginning. To what point and purpose? Maybe there isn't one; maybe that, in itself, is the point and purpose. The world Antoine so keenly observes simply goes on, and he simply goes on keenly observing it, without an agenda or a particular point of view. IMO, removing his own 'stuff' from the picture allows him to see things most of us would miss, or dismiss as unimportant. Like how old people deal with the end of life, like how children deal with the beginning.
It's all the same to Antoine ~ it's life. His insistence on being an observer has driven us crazy (!) but I think it has merit. What he's accomplished has allowed him to see life in a completely different context, through a completely different lens, without the 'me' in the picture. Like we've all agreed, that's unique...maddening but unique!
I love the last bit of the book and how the same converstion begins with the boy that began with Al. Consider the possibililty that the boy could be Al, and we've come Full circle.
:hypnotic:
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:02 pm

Parlez wrote: Consider the possibililty that the boy could be Al, and we've come Full circle.


I had that thought too, Parlez! :highfive: The end completes the circle with the dialogue, the characters and the setting. I am going to read the last chapter again too while I have some waiting time this afternoon...too bad it won't be on a bench!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby Liz » Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:35 pm

I think the purpose of the last bit of dialog is to indicate that Antoine really hasn’t moved on. He’s still in the same spot, not participating, despite the changes taking place around him at Happy Days.

HOWEVER, now that he is approaching death, he is now observing life in the little ones.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby nebraska » Wed Dec 20, 2006 5:52 pm

I totally loved the ending!!!!! One of those rare books that I closed with a smile of satisfaction. Not exactly "happily ever after", but darned close in its own way. American Indians (and I am sure many other cultures) refer often to the circle, the wedding ring is a circle......you get my drift.....and the book's ending completed a circle. Perfect.

I had eagerly anticipated reading Happy Days. It was not what I expected ; I was really very disappointed in it -- I think I expected something more uplifting with a more likeable main character. A second reading didn't improve my opinion very much. After our discussion I have come to believe Happy Days is not meant to be a story read for pleasure, but rather it is a sort of scholarly exercise in serious spiritual thought. I was expecting a story to "enjoy," and I have read stories that had a moral or a point to make but still were fun to read. Now, if it were to be made into a movie I think I would have a different opinion since I think in visual form I would recognize more comedy and it could be really fun instead of so darkly serious (at least, that is how the book seemed to me0.

I am glad I read Happy Days and I am glad I participated in the discussion, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else.

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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:00 pm

LIz, Interesting standpoint you have there.

Nebraska, I feel the same way as you about the book in general terms. I too expected something alot lighter, or at least some humor built into the main charachter!

Parlez, I have enjoyed these Happy Days contemplating with you. I had fortotten the reincarnation point at the end.

Does anyone think, that perhaps the bench is where he is meant to be in this lifetime? It might be his 'calling'. Some people are meant to be nurses, etc... In Hinduism, they beleive people are born into a specific caste , and they are meant to be 'beggars' etc... What say you?
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:23 pm

Same to you, Depputante! I've enjoyed the discussion with everyone, but I sense a kindred spirit in you. :heart2:

Your question about the caste thing, and if Antoine is essentially where he's suppose to be, have me reviewing the discussion we had about karma. I said I thought some people's karma was to fail, and you said people were able to change their karma. If Antoine's caste/karma was to sit on a bench I think he would've felt more at home there from the get-go. It wouldn't have needed such intention on his part, savvy? So, Antoine's situation fits more with your thoughts in that he used his intention and willpower and effort to change is fate/caste/karma/life to become something quite different from what had been prescribed or assigned to him at birth. The question is: Was that an improvement or did it end in failure?
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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Dec 20, 2006 6:49 pm

Parlez wrote:
Your question about the caste thing, and if Antoine is essentially where he's suppose to be,

have me reviewing the discussion we had about karma. I said I thought some people's karma was to fail, and you said people were able to change their karma.

If Antoine's caste/karma was to sit on a bench I think he would've felt more at home there from the get-go. It wouldn't have needed such intention on his part, savvy?

So, Antoine's situation fits more with your thoughts in that he used his intention and willpower and effort to change is fate/caste/karma/life to become something quite different from what had been prescribed or assigned to him at birth. The question is: Was that an improvement or did it end in failure?


I see what you're saying Parlez, (I had to wake put on me thinking cap first though. :investigate: )

Then, I think Antoine has failed to change his Karma. I'm not so sure that trying to change his Karma was his goal though.

I think, despite his best efforts to learn about death (his goal) , which he was successful at doing, then he just happened to learn enjoy life more too, and then life kind of pushed him back out the door of Happy Days, because he didn't belong there, hence his Karma stayed the same, and he failed to change any Karma. Savvy?
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:03 pm

Liz wrote:I think the purpose of the last bit of dialog is to indicate that Antoine really hasn’t moved on. He’s still in the same spot, not participating, despite the changes taking place around him at Happy Days.

HOWEVER, now that he is approaching death, he is now observing life in the little ones.


I'm with you, Liz. Death goes on around him, life goes on around him....he's still just an observer who really doesn't seem to absorb too much with all of his observing. He makes me want to sit down next to him and try to let him in on all the experiences, sorrowful or glorious, that he is missing by not being a participant. I have a feeling I wouldn't be able to get through to him, however. :-/
This discussion has been interesting and enlightening, but I can't say that I really got much from the book. Maybe the movie could be entertaining...
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Unread postby Bix » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:15 pm

Liz wrote:I think the purpose of the last bit of dialog is to indicate that Antoine really hasn’t moved on. He’s still in the same spot, not participating, despite the changes taking place around him at Happy Days.

HOWEVER, now that he is approaching death, he is now observing life in the little ones.
I have to agree with your summation here, Liz. I liked the ending because it did let us know Antoine had grown old at Happy Days while it changed to keep up with the world and he did not. It is so telling that he ends with "All my life, I've let myself die." Or maybe I just really don't get it! :-?

This one has not been one of my favorites, although I do have to agree with the book jacket blurb that says, "This is a small book, but it takes you far" or something to that effect. I do think it is very well crafted and I especially like the steady movement toward completion of the circle throughout. But, like you, nebraska, I didn't really like Antoine and I just couldn't get really interested in this one. But I am glad I read it and I may go back and reread it and find myself thinking about it in a whole different light.
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Unread postby Parlez » Wed Dec 20, 2006 8:55 pm

[quote="nebraska"
I am glad I read Happy Days and I am glad I participated in the discussion, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else.[/quote]

I'm glad you did too, nebraska, and everyone else who struggled with this one.

Personally, I've given this little book to just about everyone I know. However, I confess, the crowd I run with includes grief counselors, Zen hospice workers and people who are interested in end-of-life care, spiritual eldering and dis-embodied poetics. They think it's outrageously funny and tragically accurate.
We all agree it's about time someone wrote a book like this and got it published and in the hands of the general public. But that's just us...
IMO the film, in the hands of our incredible Johnny Depp, will be amazing.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:25 pm

nebraska, I loved the ending too. I thought it was very clever and brought the book full circle. I am not sure Antoine found what he was looking for or maybe he found that there really wasn’t anything in life worth participating in so he would just wait out his days until the end. I have to disagree with that sentiment, make the most of it while you can!

Bix, I agree with the book blurb. For a little book it packs a big punch. I always want to go back and read a book after our discussions but I’m too busy getting ready for the next discussion and the next one…to ever go back. This one is short enough I may just get the chance!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

Wow! What a ride!

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Unread postby nebraska » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:40 pm

Parlez wrote:[quote="nebraska"
I am glad I read Happy Days and I am glad I participated in the discussion, but I don't think I would recommend it to anyone else.


I'm glad you did too, nebraska, and everyone else who struggled with this one.

Personally, I've given this little book to just about everyone I know. However, I confess, the crowd I run with includes grief counselors, Zen hospice workers and people who are interested in end-of-life care, spiritual eldering and dis-embodied poetics. They think it's outrageously funny and tragically accurate.
We all agree it's about time someone wrote a book like this and got it published and in the hands of the general public. But that's just us...
IMO the film, in the hands of our incredible Johnny Depp, will be amazing.
[/quote]
Parlez, your perspective has been a HUGE asset in this discussion because of your personal experience working in this field! :bounce: While I am horrified by the prospect of wearing a diaper because I can't control my anal sphincter, you can see the humor in the faces around the table sniffing at an odor. Part of the drama and interplay of character that must be amusing when it becomes part of your daily life. I SO understand that! And having you here to share your view of the Happy Days residents has added so much to our discussion! Glad you joined us. Hope you will stick around for People's Act of Love.


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