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In "Could This be Paradise" by Steve Sanfield, did the man find the paradise he was...

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john18 | Honors

Posted September 8, 2013 at 7:42 PM via web

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In "Could This be Paradise" by Steve Sanfield, did the man find the paradise he was apparently searching for? How did his family react to his search?

what was the man going to paradise motivation for leaving? how well prepared was he for possible problems? did he reach the intended destination? why or why not? how did he react upon returning home? how was he received upon returning home?

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 11, 2013 at 12:02 PM (Answer #1)

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The moral of this short story, Could This be Paradise by Steve Sanfield appears to be the struggle and search for direction in life. The man has no goals and no idea where his future lies, despite already having a wife and children. His life has become meaningless and therefore, he lacks motivation. The man does nothing to improve his circumstances and just dreams about what paradise may be like.

For the man every day is "no different from any other" and, not even stopping to consider his family, he impulsively decides it's time to leave for this place called Paradise. His journey is lacking any excitement, much like his life and he passes each landmark with which he is so familiar without so much as a moment of regret or anticipation of what lies ahead. Even when he thinks he has reached paradise the following day, the most enthusiasm he feels is "Oh well." He is disappointed that paradise is not much bigger than the village he has recently left behind. The reader is beginning to realise that this man has little or no appreciation for the things around him. 

There is a familiarity with the landmarks of this new paradise where he now finds himself and his irritation is not caused by his realisation that he is back home but the fact that others must have exaggerated the wonder of paradise. "Now more sad than angry," the man's expectations are met as he finds the broken latch and hears a familiar voice-"It sounded just like his own wife."

His wife appears to have a similar meaningless existence as she does not appear to have noticed that he was gone overnight. This is indicative of the fact that both of them are waiting for someone else to change their lives instead of doing so themselves and, "never having said no to his wife," he returns to his familiar routine. 

Interestingly, the man's children have missed him and want to be sure that “You’ll stay with us this time, won't you, Papa?" Unfortunately, even this is not enough for the man to look for paradise in his own environment. How can he appreciate paradise when he cannot see the beauty that already surrounds him. 

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