Happiness by Raymond Carver

Through the words of “Happiness”, Raymond Carver urges his readers to appreciate the simple things in life that possess the power of making us the happiest. The poem revolves around the lives of two delivery boys who have achieved what people who look down on them could not: happiness.



So early it’s still almost dark out.
I’m near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.

When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren’t saying anything, these boys.

I think if they could, they would take
each other’s arm.
It’s early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.

They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.

Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn’t enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

Analysis of Carver’s “Happiness”

The poem is simple enough, in terms of the wordplay and the plot itself. One early morning, the writer spies through his window two newspaper delivering boys walking up the road as they prepare for their daily chore. He is amused to observe that the boys are in fact so content that they do not even feel the need to speak to each other. They walk slowly and in a fulfilling manner, spreading the aura of happiness as they go by on their way.

Here, emphasis is repeatedly given to simplicity the poem in order to boost the idea of how easily happiness can be gained through the simplest manners. At one point, it is depicted as if as the two boys walk up, the moon hangs up behind them and the light of the sun falls on them. The effect is peaceful and simple at the same time. This is because the moon and the sun are not things that are rare; they are things we take for granted and have observed countless times in our lives. Yet, it is that usualness which had done all the difference in the world.

It is to be noted that the entire poem is actually observed through a fleeting moment the writer happened to catch as he peeked from his window. Raymond Carver sets the tone of peace and self-contentment; taking the readers to the happy place he had build with his words, a place where the sky and the moon meet to bring light into people’s hearts. However, it is not the only time of the day people can hope to be happy. You can be happy with the smallest things in life like the two boys walking up the road. You just have to notice them.