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

by Laurent Graff

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Theresa
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Unread postby Theresa » Wed Dec 20, 2006 9:51 pm

Bix wrote:
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.

I have to agree here, I don't really see that Antoine changed at all. It reminds me of the trick they do on TV where one character is shown in slow motion while everyone around has been sped up in fast forward. Antoine just sits there on the bench while the world speeds by. The ending was just perfect for the book, however -- taking us right back to the beginning.

This has been the first discussion that I've (sort-of) participated in where I liked the book less after the discussion. When I first read the book, I thought it was an interesting little character study, both tragic and humorous. I didn't see the Buddhist overtones as strongly as has been talked about here, and I guess, because I don't agree with that philosophy, it changed my opinion of the book.

It was an interesting discussion, however. I did look forward to reading the threads every day.

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Unread postby gemini » Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:05 pm

We seem to be on two sides here on Antionne. Deppuntante thinks he started out negative and warmed up with life teaching him by changing around him. (Which by the way is very good, I hadn't thought of it that way.) Parlez also sees something positive; " 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."

Liz feels he hasn't moved on and is still in the same spot he started. Nebraska says " 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". This goes back to our first question on Graff and some of us thought his interest in Buddhism might influence his writing. I think we were right, he is going for some life analyzing here.

Parlez, we talked too much about astrology and now you have me second-guessing myself, wanting it both ways. Gemini's are inconsistent. Teetering here between positive thinking and being a cynic.
My brain tells me what I personally got out of it and that is in agreement with Liz and Betty Sue. Antionne, although he has a couple flickers of hope, in the end he choose to end his life the way he started right down to the same bench. My inconsistent side says that Johnny sees more in Antionne and will not play him like I see him.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Wed Dec 20, 2006 10:19 pm

gemini wrote: My brain tells me what I personally got out of it and that is in agreement with Liz and Betty Sue. Antionne, although he has a couple flickers of hope, in the end he choose to end his life the way he started right down to the same bench. My inconsistent side says that Johnny sees more in Antionne and will not play him like I see him.


gemini, I really hope Johnny is able to fit this one in because I agree with you. We will see something we didn't expect and didn't see ourselves once Antoine is in Johnny's skin.
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 11:11 pm

For those of you who think Antoine didn't change much, if at all, ... this idea is making me think of the movie Forrest Gump.

I stand by the idea that Antoine changed, possibly only inside, simply if for no other reason, that the language used when he referrs to people is not negative anymore by the end of the book.
“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 11:29 pm

Depputante, you go girl! Stand by your brain, as it were! :omg:
And, whilst we all taking a stand of whether or not Antoine changed, or whether he was a fool and his life a waste, we might also ask if/how the reading of this book changed us. As was mentioned briefly on the other other thread (on the meaning of life) that could be the more intriguing question.
???

Count me in for TPAOL, when you see me confounded and confused and in grave difficulty catching the point! :dunce:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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Unread postby Depputante » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:35 pm

Parlez wrote:
Count me in for TPAOL, when you see me confounded and confused and in grave difficulty catching the point! :dunce:


Accord! :highfive: Me too, Parlez ! I'm really concerned about the next one. Don't think I'll have much input there. I don't know anything about Cheks, or European history, or this 'cult fiction' for lack of any better words. The only thing I know about Russia is about some of their food! But I will be reading and counting on other ONBC'ers to guide my way.

Parlez, thanks for your support! That means alot to me. :heart2:
“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 Depputante » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:52 pm

Parlez wrote:And, whilst we all taking a stand of whether or not Antoine changed, or whether he was a fool and his life a waste, we might also ask if/how the reading of this book changed us. As was mentioned briefly on the other other thread (on the meaning of life) that could be the more intriguing question.
???


Hmmm....First off, the negative. :-/ The one thing that would get me to just walk into a Seniors home, would be like an 'Open House' type of event. Even if it were for them to recruit me as a volunteer for some sort of activity, I still see these facilities as a sort of Hospital, where you are not allowed to walk in off the street.

Secondly, I think I already realize that seniors are a bunch of dynamic people who have lived varied and exciting lifes who have stories to tell. So how has it changed me?

I suppose internally, to look at people like Antoine even more acceptingly than I do now. To appreciate each person for their own oddities, goals and ...well...destinies. The book makes me think more of my own destiny. Perhaps give more consideration to making a list of things I want to do while alive.
“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 Liz » Wed Dec 20, 2006 11:57 pm

Depputante wrote: 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?


Good catch, Depputante! I had not thought about that. I know just bits and pieces about Buddhism and Hinduism, so it doesn't come naturally for me to think that way. But when pointed out, it makes perfect sense.
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 Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:16 am

Betty Sue wrote:
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...


I got a lot from the discussion of the book--a lot! Not so much from the book by itself. But if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't have gotten what I did because I wouldn't have discussed it. It's all good. :chill:
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 Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:23 am

Depputante wrote:
Parlez wrote:
Count me in for TPAOL, when you see me confounded and confused and in grave difficulty catching the point! :dunce:


Accord! :highfive: Me too, Parlez ! I'm really concerned about the next one. Don't think I'll have much input there. I don't know anything about Cheks, or European history, or this 'cult fiction' for lack of any better words. The only thing I know about Russia is about some of their food! But I will be reading and counting on other ONBC'ers to guide my way.

Parlez, thanks for your support! That means alot to me. :heart2:


I have read a whopping 2 pages into that book. It seems I need to catch up so I can work on tidbits on Checkoslovakia, European history and Russia. :yikes:
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 gemini » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:34 am

Liz wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:
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...


I got a lot from the discussion of the book--a lot! Not so much from the book by itself. But if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't have gotten what I did because I wouldn't have discussed it. It's all good. :chill:


You make a very good point here Liz. The books I read without discussion I usually don't go back and reread anything for clarification or wonder if my original take was the way the author meant it. etc etc.
Discussing it, especially with varied views, makes it much more enjoyable and more memorable.
Thanks to all of you ladies.
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Unread postby Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:35 am

nebraska wrote:
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.

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.[/quote]

I want to echo that.
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 Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:37 am

gemini wrote:
Liz wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:
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...


I got a lot from the discussion of the book--a lot! Not so much from the book by itself. But if I hadn't read the book, I wouldn't have gotten what I did because I wouldn't have discussed it. It's all good. :chill:


You make a very good point here Liz. The books I read without discussion I usually don't go back and reread anything for clarification or wonder if my original take was the way the author meant it. etc etc.
Discussing it, especially with varied views, makes it much more enjoyable and more memorable.
Thanks to all of you ladies.


I don't usually have as hard a time as I did with this one, though.
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 Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:41 am

DeppInTheHeartOfTexas wrote:
gemini wrote: My brain tells me what I personally got out of it and that is in agreement with Liz and Betty Sue. Antionne, although he has a couple flickers of hope, in the end he choose to end his life the way he started right down to the same bench. My inconsistent side says that Johnny sees more in Antionne and will not play him like I see him.


gemini, I really hope Johnny is able to fit this one in because I agree with you. We will see something we didn't expect and didn't see ourselves once Antoine is in Johnny's skin.


I'm sure of it.
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 Liz » Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:51 am

Parlez wrote: And, whilst we all taking a stand of whether or not Antoine changed, or whether he was a fool and his life a waste, we might also ask if/how the reading of this book changed us. As was mentioned briefly on the other other thread (on the meaning of life) that could be the more intriguing question.
???


Good question. I know it educated me a bit on Buddhism. It also got me to look at life, death and aging from different points of view. I am always open to opening my mind. I'm not sure I am sold on any one philosophy. But I've done a lot of contemplating on it. And that always facilitates growth. But again, I have to emphasize that it was not just the book that did this for me. It was a combination of the book and you guys. :grouphug:

Do you think I've made enough posts now? :lol:
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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