In Thom Jones's widely anthologized story “I Want to Live,” the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer plays a far greater role than readers may at first appreciate. Schopenhauer's reputation as a pessimist is deftly employed by Jones to highlight the philosopher's more optimistic approach to life, especially his views on laughter and good humor. The result is a uniquely powerful portrait of human suffering in relation to humor and happiness, a portrait at once timeless and contemporary.

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