The Last Laugh
is a short story by D.H. Lawrence, first published in 1924. It tells the story of a wealthy couple, Harry and Fanny, who are unhappy in their marriage and seek to find fulfillment through material possessions and social status. However, their attempts at happiness are ultimately unsuccessful, and the story ends with a tragic and ironic twist.
The story begins with Harry and Fanny’s decision to move to a new house, which they hope will bring them greater happiness and social status. They hire a young couple, Robert and Lucy, to help them move and set up their new home. Harry and Fanny quickly become enamored with the young couple, particularly Robert, who they see as a potential protégé and successor.
As the story progresses, Harry and Fanny’s dissatisfaction with their lives and marriage becomes more apparent. They are obsessed with material possessions and social status, and view Robert and Lucy as a means to achieve their goals. However, their attempts at controlling and manipulating the young couple are met with resistance, and their relationship with Robert becomes increasingly strained.
In the final scene, Harry invites Robert to a party at their home, hoping to impress him and gain his admiration. However, the party ends in tragedy when Harry is accidentally shot by one of his own guns. In the moments before his death, Harry has a sudden realization that all of his wealth and material possessions are meaningless, and that he has wasted his life pursuing the wrong things.
The title of the story, “The Last Laugh,” refers to the idea that life is ultimately unpredictable and can bring unexpected twists and turns. Despite their attempts to control their lives and manipulate others, Harry and Fanny are ultimately powerless in the face of fate. The story is a commentary on the human condition, and the dangers of becoming too obsessed with material possessions and social status.
Lawrence’s writing in “The Last Laugh” is characteristically complex and layered. He uses vivid and descriptive language to create a sense of atmosphere and tension, particularly in the scenes where Harry and Fanny are attempting to control Robert and Lucy. The characters are deeply flawed and complex, and their motivations and desires are not always clear, which adds to the sense of intrigue and tension in the story.
The themes explored in “The Last Laugh” are still relevant today, particularly in the age of social media and the constant pursuit of status and success. The story serves as a warning against the dangers of becoming too obsessed with material possessions and social status, and the importance of finding true happiness and fulfillment in life.
In conclusion, “The Last Laugh” is a powerful and thought-provoking short story that explores the human condition and the dangers of materialism and social climbing. Lawrence’s writing is vivid and descriptive, and the characters are complex and layered, making the story a rich and engaging read. The story’s tragic ending serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of life, and the importance of finding true happiness and fulfillment in the present moment.