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 Post subject: Happy Days Question #16 ~ The meaning of life?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:33 am 
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Again, in the interview with Philippe Perrier, Graff states:

“Through these two decisions of my character, (Antoine’s decisions to purchase his headstone and to live in Happy Days) I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the live, to look it by the end, since old age and death.”

If Antoine is looking for the meaning of life why is he choosing to find it through studying death? Do you feel Antoine ever found the meaning of death?



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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Question #16 ~ The meaning of life?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 1:24 pm 
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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
Again, in the interview with Philippe Perrier, Graff states:

“Through these two decisions of my character, (Antoine’s decisions to purchase his headstone and to live in Happy Days) I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the live, to look it by the end, since old age and death.”

If Antoine is looking for the meaning of life why is he choosing to find it through studying death? Do you feel Antoine ever found the meaning of death?


Ah yes, welcome back DIHOT ! :bouquet: I was just enjoying Liz-baba's :angel: easy questions. How many more questions are there? I am eager to discuss the last one, although it will be sad to have a break.

I'm thinking he went in to research death (take the bull by the horns), and ended up stumbling across the meaning of life. :capnjack: There's nothing more humbling that staring death in the face, and realizing life is precious.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:50 pm 
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As Depputante said, I can understand learning the meaning of life (how precious it is, what things really count, how quickly it goes by...) by studying death. However, I'm not sure Antoine learned this, as he never did join in the game of life. Did he ever find the meaning of death? I'm not sure. He sure knows all the mechanics of what needs to be done when someone dies and seems very content to wait for it to happen. But I would expect him to give his life more meaning if he really understood that death was going to put an end to that possibillity. Kind of hard to analyze someone so different from yourself... :dunce:



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:47 pm 
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"Memento Mori" (Remember Death) is inscribed at the entrance of Christian monastaries around the world. It's considered to be THE contemplation, or mantra, if you like.
Outside those lofty places, we're faced with a dilema: Nobody wants to get old; but nobody wants to die either. Unfortunately there are not other options!
They say if you look at your past with remorse and your future with fear, you're caught like a bug on a pin with no place to go.
To me, the author's quote is an invitation to get prepared...not only technically (with wills and powers of attorneys, etc.) but also in terms of how we intend to handle things like becoming dependent, becoming infirm, being seen as a pariah to society, or scary to our loved ones. How will each of us keep our dignity, perspective and sense of humor in the face of what's to come?
The good news is ~ our role models are waiting! They're right around the corner, in places like Happy Days.
GO THERE! Introduce yourself. Sit down. Listen. Observe. Witness. And then decide if there are changes you'd like to make about how you want to live your life, how you want to age, and how you want to die. Then make 'em.

Antoine's story is unique, as we all agree. But, IMO, the author's intention and ability to get us thinking about these rather unpleasant things will, indeed, enhance our lives.

And, once again, I can't thank JD enough for introducing me to this book!! And to all of you too. :lilyrose:



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 4:02 pm 
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Quote:
“Through these two decisions of my character, (Antoine’s decisions to purchase his headstone and to live in Happy Days) I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the live, to look it by the end, since old age and death.”

MY gut feeling here again agrees with Betty Sue that the lesson here is learning how precious life is, and while Antionne may have had a glimpse of that in Mirielle he didn't seem to cheirsh his own.

I am going to try to look at this from a different point of view.
I remember someone saying to me once that young people have no fear of dying and think they are invincible. Maybe this is another subtle point being made here. That you have to realize that death awaits us all to cherish life.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:52 pm 
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gemini wrote:
Quote:
“Through these two decisions of my character, (Antoine’s decisions to purchase his headstone and to live in Happy Days) I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the live, to look it by the end, since old age and death.”

MY gut feeling here again agrees with Betty Sue that the lesson here is learning how precious life is, and while Antionne may have had a glimpse of that in Mirielle he didn't seem to cheirsh his own.

I am going to try to look at this from a different point of view.
I remember someone saying to me once that young people have no fear of dying and think they are invincible. Maybe this is another subtle point being made here. That you have to realize that death awaits us all to cherish life.


True. I think that is a good lesson, which most young people have not learned--including, in my opinion, Antoine. (In my old age I still think him young :lol: ) I really don't think he did much else differently after Mirielle's death.

And Depputante, we have 2 more questions left. :bawl:



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:58 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
"Memento Mori" (Remember Death) is inscribed at the entrance of Christian monastaries around the world. It's considered to be THE contemplation, or mantra, if you like.


That's a telling inscription! :-O I wonder if that has anything to do with Graff's choice of storyline.

Parlez wrote:
To me, the author's quote is an invitation to get prepared...not only technically (with wills and powers of attorneys, etc.) but also in terms of how we intend to handle things like becoming dependent, becoming infirm, being seen as a pariah to society, or scary to our loved ones. How will each of us keep our dignity, perspective and sense of humor in the face of what's to come?
The good news is ~ our role models are waiting! They're right around the corner, in places like Happy Days.
GO THERE! Introduce yourself. Sit down. Listen. Observe. Witness. And then decide if there are changes you'd like to make about how you want to live your life, how you want to age, and how you want to die. Then make 'em.

Antoine's story is unique, as we all agree. But, IMO, the author's intention and ability to get us thinking about these rather unpleasant things will, indeed, enhance our lives.


This is a different way of looking at the story, for sure. So instead of focusing on Antoine and judging him, maybe we should be focusing on what he has observed and the story he is telling?



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:04 pm 
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Liz wrote:

Parlez wrote:
To me, the author's quote is an invitation to get prepared...not only technically (with wills and powers of attorneys, etc.) but also in terms of how we intend to handle things like becoming dependent, becoming infirm, being seen as a pariah to society, or scary to our loved ones. How will each of us keep our dignity, perspective and sense of humor in the face of what's to come?
The good news is ~ our role models are waiting! They're right around the corner, in places like Happy Days.
GO THERE! Introduce yourself. Sit down. Listen. Observe. Witness. And then decide if there are changes you'd like to make about how you want to live your life, how you want to age, and how you want to die. Then make 'em.

Antoine's story is unique, as we all agree. But, IMO, the author's intention and ability to get us thinking about these rather unpleasant things will, indeed, enhance our lives.


This is a different way of looking at the story, for sure. So instead of focusing on Antoine and judging him, maybe we should be focusing on what he has observed and the story he is telling?


Accord ! :toastingpirates: And also the impact of society on him, rather than his impact on society. Savvy? :eyebrow: Although an odd and intriguing charachter, I think we must not place too much focus on Antoine.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:06 pm 
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Liz said
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(In my old age I still think him young haha )

Off topic again but this statement amuses me. I also don't feel old. When I check how many wrinkles I am sporting in the mirror, it always surprises me how other people see me compared to how young I feel inside. I am wondering how old one must get or if we ever really feel old from our inner prospective? :grin: A question I should be asking the Happy Days crew.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:12 pm 
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Parlez wrote:
"Memento Mori" (Remember Death) is inscribed at the entrance of Christian monastaries around the world. It's considered to be THE contemplation, or mantra, if you like.
Outside those lofty places, we're faced with a dilema: Nobody wants to get old; but nobody wants to die either. Unfortunately there are not other options!
They say if you look at your past with remorse and your future with fear, you're caught like a bug on a pin with no place to go.
To me, the author's quote is an invitation to get prepared...not only technically (with wills and powers of attorneys, etc.) but also in terms of how we intend to handle things like becoming dependent, becoming infirm, being seen as a pariah to society, or scary to our loved ones. How will each of us keep our dignity, perspective and sense of humor in the face of what's to come?
The good news is ~ our role models are waiting! They're right around the corner, in places like Happy Days.
GO THERE! Introduce yourself. Sit down. Listen. Observe. Witness. And then decide if there are changes you'd like to make about how you want to live your life, how you want to age, and how you want to die. Then make 'em.

Antoine's story is unique, as we all agree. But, IMO, the author's intention and ability to get us thinking about these rather unpleasant things will, indeed, enhance our lives.

And, once again, I can't thank JD enough for introducing me to this book!! And to all of you too. :lilyrose:


Well, I can't say that cheered me up very much. :-/ I am approaching 60 in a couple of months, my elderly sister and brother in law are in a struggle to keep their independence and my sister's daily emails tell me details of that struggle. In my work place, a couple of older workers are being forced out by new younger management and the comment that they want "younger prettier people" at the front desk to greet clients has been overheard. So all of these aging issues have been on my mind and are facing me now. :banghead: It isn't abstract "prepare for someday" kind of stuff, it is becoming my reality. As much as I have fought it every step of the way, my old body can't keep up with my young mind, and I find that I am going to have to make some choices and accept that I can't do everything I want to do just because I want to do it.

When we discussed death a few days ago and I talked about the peace and love surrounding my mother in law and sister's deathbeds, I thought I had accepted all of that -- but maybe it is the part in between that terrifies me. In many ways, Happy Days was a difficult book for me to read.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:27 pm 
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nebraska wrote:
Parlez wrote:
"Memento Mori" (Remember Death) is inscribed at the entrance of Christian monastaries around the world. It's considered to be THE contemplation, or mantra, if you like.
Outside those lofty places, we're faced with a dilema: Nobody wants to get old; but nobody wants to die either. Unfortunately there are not other options!
They say if you look at your past with remorse and your future with fear, you're caught like a bug on a pin with no place to go.
To me, the author's quote is an invitation to get prepared...not only technically (with wills and powers of attorneys, etc.) but also in terms of how we intend to handle things like becoming dependent, becoming infirm, being seen as a pariah to society, or scary to our loved ones. How will each of us keep our dignity, perspective and sense of humor in the face of what's to come?
The good news is ~ our role models are waiting! They're right around the corner, in places like Happy Days.
GO THERE! Introduce yourself. Sit down. Listen. Observe. Witness. And then decide if there are changes you'd like to make about how you want to live your life, how you want to age, and how you want to die. Then make 'em.

Antoine's story is unique, as we all agree. But, IMO, the author's intention and ability to get us thinking about these rather unpleasant things will, indeed, enhance our lives.

And, once again, I can't thank JD enough for introducing me to this book!! And to all of you too. :lilyrose:


Well, I can't say that cheered me up very much. :-/ I am approaching 60 in a couple of months, my elderly sister and brother in law are in a struggle to keep their independence and my sister's daily emails tell me details of that struggle. In my work place, a couple of older workers are being forced out by new younger management and the comment that they want "younger prettier people" at the front desk to greet clients has been overheard. So all of these aging issues have been on my mind and are facing me now. :banghead: It isn't abstract "prepare for someday" kind of stuff, it is becoming my reality. As much as I have fought it every step of the way, my old body can't keep up with my young mind, and I find that I am going to have to make some choices and accept that I can't do everything I want to do just because I want to do it.

When we discussed death a few days ago and I talked about the peace and love surrounding my mother in law and sister's deathbeds, I thought I had accepted all of that -- but maybe it is the part in between that terrifies me. In many ways, Happy Days was a difficult book for me to read.

I also have some of your feelings. My parents are still with me but facing many of the issues discussed in Happy Days. I dont know if I would look at the book the same way if one of them had recently passed away. I asked my mother (she will be 87 on New Years Day) if she wanted to read Happy Days when I finished it. She loves to read and asked what it was about. I said it was about a young man living in an Old Peoples Home. She replied it sounded too dreary and she would rather read something else.



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:39 pm 
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Thank you for the welcome back, Depputante! It’s good to be home. Sorry the “easy” questions are over… As Liz said, we have two questions left.

Parlez, what a wonderful idea to visit or get involved in a retirement center. A great way to volunteer one’s time. In our discussion of Antoine I wondered if Graff was trying to make him a blank slate, an everyman in a way to allow us to focus on him that way rather than what his beliefs or prejudices might be. That goes along with your idea that he is not the focus of the story, only the storyteller.

Betty Sue and gemini, I agree that it is hard to analyze Antoine because he is so different from us. I would hope he studied death in order to learn to appreciate life but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I think that might be what Graff means in the quote, “I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the live, to look it by the end, since old age and death.”


gemini and nebraska, there are many morning I don’t recognize the person in the mirror because I know I’m not that old! Ihear that statement from a lot of my friends as well. My mother, who is 84, still feels that way.



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 Post subject: Re: Happy Days Question #16 ~ The meaning of life?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 8:26 pm 
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If Antoine is looking for the meaning of life why is he choosing to find it through studying death? Do you feel Antoine ever found the meaning of death?

I think perhaps he found that the meaning of death is the life that preceeds it. He spent a great deal of time watching people in various forms of decay lurking towards the day of death, yet in the end he sits on his bench watching the youth of life. I believe he may have found it.
( I could certainly see Johnny depicting this, if he were to play Antoine.)

Don't we all know at least one person who had a "wake up call" to life by looking at death? In an accident? Heart attack? A loved one drying young in front of us?
Is it not today we live for - this moment. . .?

I read some more of your comments and want to add a few thoughts.

Nebraska, turning 60 is a big milestone! But you have to get over it fast keep on keeping on. No, we can't usually keep on doing what we want to, so you develop others things, do things different ways. It IS worth a thought or two to concider and accept.

Another thought on these homes. . . not all aged people live in homes. They are around needing help everywhere. Just take a day and be aware of older people that you see, or meet.
Several years ago I demonstrated watercolor painting at 3 homes, one each with ambulatory patients, the next one with patients a bit worse and the last with a house full of people that appeared they cashed out years ago but were still there physically. I was grateful I had the experience, but today I feel the hanging around younger people keeps me younger.
Lady Jill

P. S. I'm 62. :bounce:



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:10 pm 
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gemini wrote:
Liz said
Quote:
(In my old age I still think him young haha )

Off topic again but this statement amuses me. I also don't feel old. When I check how many wrinkles I am sporting in the mirror, it always surprises me how other people see me compared to how young I feel inside. I am wondering how old one must get or if we ever really feel old from our inner prospective? :grin: A question I should be asking the Happy Days crew.


Funny....I was just asking myself that question this week. Will I still want to shop in the Juniors dept. when I'm in a Happy Days? My daughter thinks I ought to graduate and move on now. She thinks my attire is "inappropriate for a 51 year old". :grin:



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 9:22 pm 
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Nebraska, Lady Jill, DITHOT & Gemini, even if we run into difficulties because of our age, at least we feel young. And that is the important thing. I think that keeps us younger and keeps us willing to participate in life. Maybe I’m naïve, but I keep hoping that the fact that there are so many Baby Boomers comprising our population that prejudice in the work place against older employees will fade away. I plan to be marketing myself in the next year or so. And I certainly don’t want to run up against that.



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