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Nanci Pascual
Professor: Ditch
English 114A
March 5, 2019

Is She Happy?

In the Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society book by Mary Ann and Annie Barrows, The

author presents the novel in a time during the World war 2 in which the protagonist Juliet

Ashton is assigned by her publisher to write about the practical, normal, and philosophical value

of reading. She discovers how The Potato Peel Pie Society came about during the war because

the people of Guernsey were not able to out past curfew. The book club became as escape for

the oppressed. During the time gender roles are completely different from the time we live in

now. Juliet Ashton and Sidney Stark are characters that push the boundaries for gender roles in

the middle of the 1900s, they are simply not conforming to what society should expect them to

be. Juliet is sure of herself of what she wants in life as far as her independence. She doesn’t want

kids and marriage she only want to focus in her career and her freedom. Juliet later finds herself

in love and she wants to have a family. But also Juliet learns about the German Occupation of

the small island with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

Happiness and all forms of friendship are apart of social connections. “We crave social

connection. Humans are extremely social creatures, and even the most introverted among us

derive a large percentage of our happiness from spending time with the people we care about.

We want to share experience and build bonds, and we most often accomplish that by doing

things that matter together (McGonigal 371) We all learn something from others and each

relationship we encounter, whether we gain wisdom or knowledge, uplifted spirits, common

goals or guidelines. In the begging of the novel writes a letter explaining how she will be alone

forever and she doesn't want to settle down to just be married and to be called a wife. While

writing to sophie, Juliet said that she don’t want to be married and can’t think of anything

lonelier than spending the rest of my life with someone I can’t talk to, or worse, someone I can’t

be silent with.” P.8 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society This shows, that Juliet

doesn't just want to settle down to be comfortable with a husband in her life, but she does worry

about not letting anyone into her life romantically. She also explained how she was once engaged

before and she is determined that she will not make the same mistake twice. (Parfitt and

Skórczewski pg. 56). And Two Articles from the book “pursuing Happiness” by Matthew Parfitt

and dawn Skorczewski, help to explain why she is not happy because he uses his pleasure to

have juliet to himself as a way to keep his ego and high position in place, she tries to connect and

make experience to fill herself with happiness while Mark is unhappy because he tries to use

pleasure to cover and fill that hole that happiness will bring by marrying Juliet and turn her to his

trophy wife. Epicurus states that happiness will be the begin and end of his favored life since she

will bring her the gift yet could take away once she discover his actual intentions with her

despite all of her hardship through these tough times and all the loss in her life Other characters

in the book such as Heewon Change, whose article examines the presumption of cultural borders

in social interactions can also be referenced in the examination of behaviour. Her research, while

revealing the loss of ethnic cultural

identities in social spaces, appears to reel in the prospect of cultural permeability, which makes

her experience of happiness different from McKibben’s. It is, therefore, necessary to explore the

various physiological, sociological and anthropological element which contribute towards the

experience of happiness in order to reveal how the two authors in Matthew Parfitt’s Pursuing

Happiness are genuinely happy in their lives. Bill McKinnon is the writer of The Only Way to

Have a Cow, which details his life as a vegan and the perceived contribution which his lifestyle

choice has towards creating a better and environmentally safer planet through dietary choices.

Throughout the entire novel, Juliet breaks the boundaries of gender roles during her time in the

1900s. She exemplifies and embodies a strong self- sufficient woman whom during that time is a

threat to a man, society and was not socially accepted from a woman. Juliet Ashton is a relatable

character to Marina Nemat in the story The Secondhand Bookseller. Nemat is young woman

who lives in Iran and like Juliet pushes the gender role boundaries. Women in Iran are not to be

educated and should be oppressed and dependent on their family or husband. Nemat and Juliet

are similar in the way they both are supposed to live their lives, but they both rebel and live life

the way they choose to and that is to be independent and self sufficient. Sidney, who seems to be

flirting with Juliet in the beginning of the novel, reveals toward the ending of the book that he is

homosexual and Juliet is one of his closest friends that he let in and knows his secret. For Sidney

this is a huge secret and he cannot tell anyone. Sidney does not feel comfortable with others

knowing and only feels safe with telling his closest friends. In the 1940s being homosexual is not

as common as it is during the twenty- first century. Today being gay or anything other than

straight is okay and generally accepted. During the time of The Guernsey Literary and potato

Peel Pie Society, gender roles were extremely different. Throughout the novel Juliet Ashton and

Sidney Stark were characters that broke the norm and traditions for gender roles during their

time period. Many may argue that both of these characters are rebellious and out place, but both

characters are brave and stand and represent themselves and not the norm of social construction.

This source of happiness is explored in McKibben’s findings as a method of directing effort,

with happiness occurring as a manifestation of satisfaction.

Works Cited

Matsunaga, Masahiro, et al. "Structural and functional associations of the rostral anterior

cingulate cortex with subjective happiness." Neuroimage 134 (2016): 132-141.

Parfitt, Matthew, and Dawn Skorczewski, eds. Pursuing happiness: A bedford spotlight reader.

Bedford/St. Martin's, a Macmillan Education imprint, (2016): 45-76.

Salas-Vallina, Andrés, et al. "On the road to happiness at work (HAW) Transformational

leadership and organizational learning capability as drivers of HAW in a healthcare context."

Personnel Review 46.2 (2017): 314-338.Works Cited

Marina Nemat The Secondhand Bookseller pg 571-576

Norton Field Guide to Writing, Second Edition Richard Bullock, Maureen Daly Goggin,

Francine Weinberg WW. Norton & Company