Even though this book is only about Green’s first twenty-two years, it gives the impression of being exceedingly pessimistic about the success of humans of all ages in managing their words, finding happiness in any activities, and, in fact, even surviving the approaching war that Green feared would take his own life and perhaps even mark the end of the world as he knew it. Green (probably by nature a pessimist) knows that he conveys an impression of almost overwhelming pessimism. So he stops his narrative from time to time to advise his reader that he does not really mean to sound as hopeless as he naturally is. Green almost seems to tell the reader not to take the pessimism as seriously as Green himself must take it. For example, coming to the end of his account of life at the boarding school, Green urges the reader not to think “that there was persecution or even prolonged unhappiness at our school,” even though the author has provided several accounts of both. Green’s questionable explanation for the dominance of unhappy events in his book is that humans generally remember happiness only when it is attached to some particular action or person. Because the lives of the boys in the school were so busy, so communal, so totally arranged by the headmaster, Green could not actually experience individualistic events that, alone, might have brought sufficient happiness to be remembered.
Later in the book, now writing about his period at Eton, Green...
(The entire section is 1660 words.)
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