American Literature: Pursuit of Happiness

Last Updated: 25 May 2020
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Caitlyn Parker February 21, 2013 American Literature Essay #1 Pursuit of Happiness Comes in Many Ways In Ron Carlson’s “The Ordinary Son. ” Reed discovers that what he might want in life is different than how his family lives. Reed’s family isn’t your typical scenario. His family is a “famous family,” a group of geniuses not known by their family’s last name but by each individual. The children even called their parents by their first names. They all had their own names, they were known by who they are not by the traditional way of saying, “Oh they are the Landers family. Geniuses lived not in a typical way of life. They were so focused on making the next big thing, that they never even spent family time together. Their house wasn’t full of fancy decorations, but actually quiet empty. They didn’t even have a dinner table. Geniuses weren’t social lights either, they never had people come over; they didn’t keep up with all the tech savvy stuff either. They had no television or telephone. It was a genius household and it wasn’t to be diminished by electronic gismos. Reed accepted the way of life as a genius family.

He realized that living without a telephone or refrigerator was natural for him. Didn’t even have a car. He was used to not living like society. He accepted this way of life, so simplistic and empty. He noticed that how they lived was very different than other people’s lives. He learned that society mostly was settled around two things: television and soft foods with tons of sugar. Living this way meant you didn’t sweat the small stuff, but to live for the work they do, not for things. They don’t need anything in life, just their brains full of ideas.

Being in a household of geniuses is hard for Reed because he wasn’t like the rest of his family; he’s the odd one out. He didn’t spend his life trying to show off his talents or be an overachiever like his siblings. He would congratulate them and their successes but lived his life in the shadows, behind the fame. At the age of seventeen Reed discovered that the genius gene had skipped him and that at least he was smart but not going to be a genius. He was free. He felt more alive than ever. He figured that now he could do whatever he wanted, he had no obligations.

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These were the days for big change, to start his life the way he wanted too. He started by getting a job doing landscaping and general cleanup maintenance at a motel. He even bought a car. He began to alienate they ways of how he was raised. Reed began to live like society. He felt he was indifferent and wanted to learn from his peers. He had a friend, named Jeff who educated him on the larger things in life, like the sex department. He finally felt something to live for. He wanted to experience something so foreign to him and understand it. Reed was satisfied working a job and not taking the high road in life.

He worked hard and was making money. He didn’t weigh the little things; he just went with the flow. He didn’t need to live in the fast lane he was happy with a sweaty back and a pocketful of cash. He felt as if he was a genius in his own way. Working at the motel allowed him to start having a little life. He learned new skills and liked being able to stand up on his two feet without his family’s lights shining down on him. Reed was immersing himself in the real world. In Lorrie Moore’s “Community Life. ” Olena wanted to be an English teacher and teach literature but she failed to graduate the study of it.

She then transferred to library school where she was taught how to take care of books. She learned to read at a young age and loved to read. Olena learned to speak English and was taught to blend into the community at a young age. Every Saturday she would go to the library to read. She loved to go to the library, she felt as if she could do whatever she wanted. She became very fond of the librarian. Olena valued her mother and thanked her for teaching her English. Her parent’s wanted to give her an American life but Olena was left all alone due to a car accident when her parents died.

Olena wished to start over, to be someone living in the world, hiding behind books and carefully learning voice. She missed her mother the most. The only thing to cope her pain was to work in a library surrounded by books, she loved to read and being around something you love helps her stay sane. Olena struggles with being social and brave. She likes to hide and not associate herself to the outside world. She likes libraries because there’s no who’s or whys just where is it. It’s an easy solution to escape the world around her. Olena seems very to herself, and doesn’t want to live her life like an American.

She’s very stubborn when it comes to going out and living her life, she rather stay home and be isolated from the world. This makes her relationship suffer. Her partner, Nick tries to push her to connect to the community and go to events but she just argues and thinks these people are too glad-handing people who never really spoke to you but at you about their life stories. She could care less and didn’t want to associate with them. Olena lived differently than the society she began to be afraid of going out. She knew that she was a foreigner and a fool and she didn’t want to be part of it.

Everything about the community was her enemy. She had become a rapist and strived to think something was wrong with her. This was a huge obstacle for her to overcome. She went through hysteria and spent her life in crisis. She hated America and tried to find herself throughout the entire process. “She was alone as a book, alone as a desk, alone as a library, alone as a pencil, alone as a catalog, alone as a number, alone as a notepad. ” She had to lift herself from her loneliness to find her happiness. To be one with her parents again, searching to find herself.

What is your definition of happiness? That is a good question, happiness comes in so many ways from small little gestures or an old friend saying, “You’re beautiful today. ” Happiness is a word that associates with your surroundings. You would probably be happier if you just bought at new car rather than being hit by one. Your emotions play a lot into how you are feeling. You can feel happier when you see someone else smile because it makes you smile. For me, my happiness comes mostly from my family. With out my family I wouldn’t be who I am today.

I’ve been through a lot of struggles while growing up and having to face problems at a young age made me become more independent on my own and stronger to face life’s hardships. When I was ten I had to live without a mother, this was very hard since she was my rock and I leaned upon her for my every need. It was an adjustment to have to move on with my life and stay close to my older sister for guidance. Without my sister I don’t know how I would have been able to cope and succeed in my journey into adulthood. Ever since I was three years old I have loved to ice skate, skating is my escape from society it lets me free my mind.

Whenever I’m down, I just think of skating and it makes me feel better. I love to skate and how it makes me feel free from anything, like I can do anything. Free as a bird. I value the little things in life, even though I never came from a rich family I have always never been forgotten. It’s great to have a few people love you tremendously rather than having no one there to support you. My dad has been a huge influence in my life because he has always been there for me, he would do anything for me and it’s great to know you have someone to count on.

He has taught me so much and gave me his artist talents as well. Since I was little I have loved to draw, being creative is my section nature. I can do it in my sleep. I’m very passionate about being artistic; through generations my whole family has some kind of artistic ability. My grandfather was a painter, photographer, my grandmother knitted and sewed like a seamstress, my dad was an illustrator, drawer, my mom was a watercolor artist, and my aunt was a graphic designer, printmaker. It’s in my blood to be talented in the arts.

I have always been passionate when it comes to making something beautiful and done from the hand. Life seems so much easier when you can make something from your heart. You can never buy something so eternally special. Being surrounded by loving people is a huge inspiration because they are your support group and when you feel down you just look to these people and they will always motivate you and push you in the direction you want to go in. In the future I hope to see myself becoming a designer.

I love the thought of me opening up my own brand and starting a clothing line. I have always thought of myself becoming famous someday. My goals for myself is to finish school with honors and graduating with a degree in Graphic Design then continuing to complete my associates in Interior Design. Then after college start to work for a magazine or firm to get some experience and do logos, websites, etc. I think to maintain my happiness I just need to keep skating and don’t settle for a day job.

I want to schedule my own hours and do work that will be something I enjoy rather than sitting at a desk all day being miserable. I also have always wanted to travel the world to get inspiration and if I follow my dreams, happiness will stay with me till I past. My purpose of life is to have fun and fulfill my wishes, if I don’t I will regret my life choices and be miserable for the rest of my life. If I keep up the hard work, my life will be complete and I will feel satisfied. Happiness is the way of life if your not happy then your not making your life have a purpose.

Being able to use my imagination helps me cope with society, now a days everything is digitalized and electronic that my mind wants to explode. For me, I always have to step away from the computer and relax my mind. I love to do yoga and mediate it helps me become one with my body and it’s a reliever of stress. I also keep a journal to jot down notes or ideas that I might come across at random times. It helps me stay true to myself and when I’m having a bad day I just look in it and re-read silly things I wrote and it makes me feel better. I always feel happy when I’m being silly and just being myself.

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American Literature: Pursuit of Happiness. (2017, Jan 17). Retrieved from

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