Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Being contented.


From “Joy in the Morning” ( published 1963) by Betty Smith (author of the fabulous book “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.)
In “Joy in the Morning  (set first  in “an up to date college town in the mid west”  in 1927)   Carl aged 20 and Annie aged 18 have just  gotten married before a local judge.  Neither has the consent of a parent.
They are both from Brooklyn.  Carl is more worldly wise than Annie. 
Both are virgins.  Annie, embarrassed by her lack of knowledge about sex is utterly shocked to discover that Carl is also ignorant and in-experienced.   She had thought that at aged 20 he had most certainly lost his virginity.
They fumble through Carl’s aggression (he almost rapes his bride), through Annie’s fear after this scary experience, to the mutual bliss which they experience in bed.
Later in the book there is this dialogue:
Carl asks Annie “Happy?”.
She replies “Contented”
“When are you going to start being happy?”
“Oh, I was happy this morning when I got off the train and saw you.  But now I’m contented”
“What’s the difference between happiness and contentment, wise guy?”
“Well, happy is like when someone gives you a big hunk of something wonderful and it’s too big to hold.  So you pull off a piece from time to time to hold in your hand.  That’s being contented”

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