Thursday, February 5, 2009

"On Running After One's Hat" description and response

In "On Running After One's Hat," Chesterton is trying to convey a message of optimism towards life's trivial annoyances. Near the beginning especially, but also throughout, he gives examples of little things that might irritate someone, such as struggling with a jammed drawer or, as the title suggests, running to catch one's hat that has flown off in a strong wind. Upon giving the examples and how frustrated someone might get as a result, Chesterton offers a "look on the bright side" argument that, he says, can be applied to most, if not all, situations. All it requires is a change of perspective or a bit of imagination. For instance, if a drawer if jammed, one can pretend he is struggling with a formidable foe and encourage himself to get it open rather than cursing idly. If his hat flies off and he must chase after it, it has most likely provided a humorous situation for onlookers to enjoy.

What I liked about the essay is that it offered a fresh view on little things that maybe most people don't consider a big deal but that cause them to curse under their breaths anyway. The writing style is cute, simple and not without a touch of humor. I personally think it is good advice, especially if the person involved is one of those that lets small irritations build negatively on his or her day. Chesterton's writing seems to focus on offbeat and almost childlike philosophies that are quite intriguing, and this essay was no exception.