Human Comedy In the Human Comedy by William Saroyan, Mrs.
Macauley, an intelligent mother of four in Ithaca, California, states, “If a man has not wept at the world’s pain he is only half a man, and there will always be pain in the world.”(p.131) People are different in many ways but how people deal with pain gives the world an insight to the character of that person and who they truly are inside. In a section of the Human Comedy, Mrs. Macauley shares her view of people, pity, and pain. When pain is present in some people, they bottle it up on the inside and let it fester. This causes pain to be distributed to others because that person with the pain cannot deal with it.
“The poor unfortunate evil man will drive pain deeper into things and spread it about wherever he goes,” (p.131) is how Mrs. Macauley describes the person who tries to contain pain.
Spangler, the telegraph office owner, was alone, John Strickman tried to rob the telegraph office because he was down on his luck and there was a war going on so he thought it didn’t matter if he or Mr. Spangler died in the holdup. He believed that stealing the money and causing Mr. Spangler pain would relieve the pain of all his mistakes, but all it would really do is cause more pain in himself and others. Mr. Strickman’s actions are that of an evil man but “I really don’t believe that the evil know they are evil.”(p.131) People who can recognize pain but only in themselves are selfish and self absorbed. Pain is every where but “a foolish man will not even notice it, except in himself.”(p.131) Mr.
Byfield, the athletic coach at Ithaca High, can only see pain in himself. He only saw his problem when Hubert Ackley, the upper class athlete, was kept after class. He only could see how he needed Hubert to run for him and didn’t recognize the problem that Mrs. Hicks, the ancient history teacher, had with Hubert. His situation and not the whole picture is what Mr.
Byfield was focused on.
Perceptive people can observe and recognize the pain in themselves and the pain of others. If “a good man will seek to take the pain out of things”(p.131), then Mrs. Macauley is a good woman. Whenever one of her children or even someone from the community had a problem, she had some advice or insight to give. When homer asked why he cried she told him, “pity--I suppose it was pity that made you cry. Unless a man has pity he is not truly a man.” When Homer’s problem arose, she comforted her son and showed him it was all right and even manly to cry.
There are good men, foolish men, and evil men in the world and all have a different way to react to pain. Sometime in one’s life we are each man and this is what makes us human.
No man should feel guilt because we didn’t come into the world anew, we came from other humans and therefore have there faults. No matter what we do there will always be pain, but it is how we chose to deal with that pain that makes who we are in this world.