The Role Of Cheating In John Atwood's Happy Endings

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People will usually agree that it is all fun and games when the cheater in a relationship is themselves. It seems to be even more of a euphoria when they are the ones consensually being used to cheat. Particularly when whomever a cheater is cheating with is made to feel as if they possess some celestial sexual gift, unprecedented to the cheater. A satisfaction the cheater’s spouse seemingly failed to give, and a satisfaction so powerful that it would cause a cheater to continually indulge the obvious wrong of infidelity. In other words, cheating is somewhat acceptable in modern society, until, an individual becomes the one being cheated on, until their sex is no longer satisfying to their spouse, or even until they are the ones being dealt…show more content…
John, the protagonist of Happy Endings indulged freely in a promiscuous ego-driven lifestyle. This lifestyle guided all his poor decisions causing him, in the end, to be filled with despair, see himself in a person he had hurt, see himself in a person who inevitably ends up hurting him and also see himself in the accessory to the person who hurts him, Atwood uses this to illustrate karma. Although not immediately, the tables did eventually start to turn on John. In plot study B of “Happy Endings”, John was probably in his mid-20’s. He met Mary, who fell in love with him. However, John did not love Mary; he merely used her for his own self-gratification. “He goes to her apartment twice a week, she cooks him dinner -- after he eats dinner they would have sex then he falls asleep” (Atwood 155). John seemed to have emotionally detached himself from Mary because “you’ll notice that he doesn’t even consider her worth the price of a dinner out” (155). Yet, “friends say they have seen him at a restaurant with another woman named Madge” (155). He reserved that aspect of himself for Madge, who he…show more content…
John is now filled with rage and jealously although he is truly in no position to be. Never the less John purchases a gun, shoots both James and Mary, then himself. The tables have finally turned completely. What makes this murder suicide so important in understanding Atwood’s full illustration on karma in “Happy Endings” is, Mary in plot study B killed herself in her last attempt at getting John’s attention. Not only did she want John’s attention but she was completed broken by everything he had come to put her though. She hoped that John would come to find her unconscious but alive and in time to get her the help she needed. She hoped after this they would get married however John never showed. In the murder suicide the karma element for this is when John intern kills himself when he finds out now he is now being the victim of infidelity and neglect. And not just a victim but also witnessing the act taking place. The other key element of Karma in the murder suicide is how the John who is cheating on his wife with a mistress ends up having the mistress cheats on him with someone she loves. More to the point, Before John actually pulls the trigger he sees in self in Mary and James. Mary symbolized himself in two ways, both him in the present who cheated on his wife and him in plot study B who neglected and used that Marry. He sees himself in James as well since just like him at that age James was probably
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