Human Comedy Pain Essay, Research Paper
In the Human Comedy by William Saroyan, Mrs.
Macauley, an intelligent mother of four in Ithaca, California,
states, If a man has not wept at the world s pain he is only half
a man, and there will always be pain in the world. (p.131)
People are different in many ways but how people deal with
pain gives the world an insight to the character of that person
and who they truly are inside. In a section of the Human
Comedy, Mrs. Macauley shares her view of people, pity, and
When pain is present in some people, they bottle it up on
the inside and let it fester. This causes pain to be distributed to
others because that person with the pain cannot deal with it.
The poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into
things and spread it about wherever he goes, (p.131) is how
Mrs. Macauley describes the person who tries to contain pain.
When Mr. Spangler, the telegraph office owner, was alone, John
Strickman tried to rob the telegraph office because he was down
on his luck and there was a war going on so he thought it didn t
matter if he or Mr. Spangler died in the holdup. He believed
that stealing the money and causing Mr. Spangler pain would
relieve the pain of all his mistakes, but all it would really do is
cause more pain in himself and others. Mr. Strickman s actions
are that of an evil man but I really don t believe that the evil
know they are evil. (p.131)
People who can recognize pain but only in themselves are
selfish and self absorbed. Pain is every where but a foolish
man will not even notice it, except in himself. (p.131) Mr.
Byfield, the athletic coach at Ithaca High, can only see pain in
himself. He only saw his problem when Hubert Ackley, the
upper class athlete, was kept after class. He only could see how
he needed Hubert to run for him and didn t recognize the
problem that Mrs. Hicks, the ancient history teacher, had with
Hubert. His situation and not the whole picture is what Mr.
Byfield was focused on.
Perceptive people can observe and recognize the pain in
themselves and the pain of others. If a good man will seek to
take the pain out of things (p.131), then Mrs. Macauley is a
good woman. Whenever one of her children or even someone
from the community had a problem, she had some advice or
insight to give. When homer asked why he cried she told him,
pity–I suppose it was pity that made you cry. Unless a man
has pity he is not truly a man. When Homer s problem arose,
she comforted her son and showed him it was all right and even
manly to cry.
There are good men, foolish men, and evil men in the
world and all have a different way to react to pain. Sometime in
one s life we are each man and this is what makes us human.
No man should feel guilt because we didn t come into the world
anew, we came from other humans and therefore have there
faults. No matter what we do there will always be pain, but it is
how we chose to deal with that pain that makes who we are in