IS THE PARADOX OF HEDONISM THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE NOVEL?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Zain A Blade
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Re: IS THE PARADOX OF HEDONISM THE CENTRAL THEME OF THE NOVEL?

Post by Zain A Blade » 08 Jun 2018, 15:13

I think the theme is about lost souls searching for a meaning to life. Indulging in pleasure is just a way to escape their miserable reality.

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Post by 10mile72 » 08 Jun 2018, 17:56

I think so. I think this message is even stronger in the case of the Chico kid, who seems to finally gain some measure of happiness when he starts working with sick people.

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Post by Ada4nathan » 09 Jun 2018, 16:47

I dont know what the author's message is, but I do know seeking just one's happiness doesn't give lasting happiness. You give others something to be happy and you'll always remain happy.

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Post by Zain A Blade » 14 Jun 2018, 14:29

desantismt_17 wrote:
12 May 2018, 12:33
I think hedonism is a theme in the book, but I wouldn't call it the central theme. At its core, this book is about figuring out who you are and learning to like that person, whether that requires admiting truths you dislike or battering away the layers of drugs and alcohol to get to the broken shell beneath. That said, I do agree that too much pleasure begets sorrow. If you force yourself into pleasure, anything else will seem like misery.
Nicely put.

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Post by Roggyrus » 17 Jun 2018, 23:03

Hedonism, as a goal to pursue pleasure and happiness, seems the theme, where people become addicts of drugs or alcohol, as in the story. I do not mean to be so philosophical about this, but the crux of the matter is in the method of pursuing happiness. Hedonistic behaviour seems to be what people do when leaving mainstream society, out of jobs and responsibilities, doing only what they wanted to do. Then there is Epicureanism. Look at what these Greeks have all come up with. Leave those to them. I will just focus on happiness, from a layman's point of view. As loneliness, the lack of happiness seems to be the cause of the characters' troubles, it is in order to examine what could cause happiness. There are so many kinds of happiness, intrinsic, material, or spiritual. Wow. Such a tall order to consider. But let us just focus on the happiness of ordinary people like us. For instance, the working class, some people treasure their rest days as one that could make them happy because they do not have to work. And then, they confuse not having to work as happiness. But look at people who are jobless, are they with any simulacrum of happiness? Then maybe, we try freedom. We were happy to be away from the office or work because we are free. We are free to do as we wish, hence freedom. If this happens for only a day, then idleness in a rocking chair or napping in the corner will be heavenly. But extend this for a month, a year, and times would become so boring. So, enter drugs, alcohol, and thrill-seeking. And maybe, join the circus just to do weird things like sword swallowing, or fire eating, etc. Forgive me, I am also confused now. lol

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Post by MollyEnter » 18 Jun 2018, 02:51

lesler wrote:
31 May 2018, 18:44
No, I think the book glorified this type of living, and gave the average reader some unrealistic entertainment. Lots of people use books to escape, myself included. This book was almost a fantasy to me.
I wholeheartedly agree. Duke's time in the circus definitely glorified drug and alcohol use. And I agree with others that the drugs and alcohol helped to paint the picture of self discovery and redemption.
"No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself."

Virginia Woolf

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