Theme of Happiness

Novel, Catch Us If You Can – Theme of Happiness

Using details from the novel you have studied, write on the theme of happiness. Use evidence from the text to support your answer.


In the novel „Catch Us If You Can‟, Rory McIntosh has been living with his grandfather since he was a young boy. On the surface, this arrangement such as theirs cannot be a happy one because Granda is old and sick while he is too young to be able to look after himself, let alone his forgetful and sometimes disorientated grandfather. Granda would have been better off at Rachnadar, a home for the aged where his needs will be taken care of by professionals and Rory would have been able to lead a more normal life at Castle Street Children‟s Home. But they refuse to be separated. Despite the difficulties, they are happy together. In their own obstinate way, they are guarding their right to be together and be happy.

However, when Granda causes a fire in their flat, the social worker assigned to them takes Granda to Rachnadar while Rory goes to the Castle Street home. Rory is upset and so is Granda. Rory believes the home is killing his Granda. Then, Rory decides to run away from the home, „rescue‟ his Granda from Rachnadar and they would run away from all these meddling people. They are on the run for several weeks and the television is full of news about them. A massive search is launched for them. Ironically, while on the run, they experience some of the happiest moments of their lives, with the help of sympathizers like Darren, his best friend who steals his mother‟s caravan key to let them hide temporarily, Sammy and Ruby who shelter them when the police close in on them. Then, there are the sympathetic petrol station operator, Rab and his girlfriend, Annie. Their run comes to an end when Granda becomes ill and causes concern to Norma, Annie‟s cousin who is helping them to get to Liverpool to find Rory‟s father. She calls the police. All‟s well that ends well when McIntosh‟s long-lost son, Jeff, who is also Rory‟s father comes for them. He is ready to assume his responsibility as a son and father.

Rory and Granda are basically searching for happiness whether as a stubborn pair fiercely defending their rights to stay together in the flat in the face of insurmountable problems or whether as runaways, oblivious to the frenzy they are causing through their actions. They sincerely believe that they are looking for happiness. After all, nothing matters as long as they are happy because life is a quest for happiness.