On Finding Things by E.V. Lucas
In On Finding Things by E.V. Lucas we have the theme of happiness, good fortune, enthusiasm and deception. Taken from his Adventures and Enthusiasms collection the reader realises after reading the essay that Lucas may be exploring the theme of happiness. Lucas finds great joy in finding things. Particularly things that cannot be traced back to their owner. Things like money for example. Lucas feels no guilt about finding small amounts of money and keeping it for himself as he knows that what has been found is not identifiable to others. There will be no repercussions and Lucas is free to spend the money as he deems fit without fearing any repercussions from either the owner of the money or the police. Though some critics might suggest that what is small (in value) to Lucas may not necessarily be small to the owner and as such Lucas does not have a conscious. However it might be worth nothing that when Lucas finds anything of value, like the gold brooch, he immediately goes to the police station and hands it in. Knowing that someone will be worried and hoping to find the brooch again.
With the happiness that Lucas feels with finding things comes the sense of not only joy but of good fortune too. Lucas feels elated that he has found things on his travels and considers himself lucky to have done so. If anything finding something makes Lucas feel as though he has been lucky and can walk with a spring in his step. Unfortunately for Lucas he has not found many things and as such values each new thing that he finds. No matter how irrelevant it might seem to be to others. Though it is noticeable that Lucas’ favourite finds are money. The reason being two-fold. Firstly money cannot be traced and secondly it is of value to everyone. Lucas can buy things with the money he finds. It is also possible that Lucas feels his own self-importance has risen when he finds things. Something that would excite any man (or woman). If anything finding things boosts Lucas’ ego and opens the door to happiness. A happiness that some might suggest is founded on other people’s misfortune.
What is also interesting about the essay is the fact that Lucas, though not driven solely with finding things, is still nonetheless at times preoccupied with finding things. Which may leave some reader to suggest that Lucas could be spending large amounts of his time in an effort to find things. This if true could lead to distraction for Lucas but it is not something that he necessarily considers to be a bad thing. The goal is always to pursue joy when finding new things though at the same time to be conscious that what is found may be important to those who have lost the item and as such Lucas endeavours to do the right thing. That being as mentioned to bring the item to the police.
The end of the essay is also interesting as Lucas knows that there are people in the world who will try and deceive him (and others) when it comes to finding things. The woman with the bent sovereign being an example. It is as though the woman finds joy in fooling people and seeing their reaction when they notice that they are being made a mockery of in public. Something that would not be pleasing to anybody. It is also interesting that Lucas wishes that he see such occurrences, of people being mocked or made a fool of. Yet he himself would not like to be the victim of such a hoax. Knowing only too well that being ridiculed in public is sure to lessen a man’s self-esteem. Again nobody would like to be made a fool of in public no matter how ingenious the hoax may be. The only avenue of escape for the victim is to laugh along with the hoax and to take it as though it did not really matter nor was it an embarrassment. However the reader is sure that the victim as they walk away after the hoax has been exposed does so with his head lowered and his pace fastened. Knowing that he has been made to feel like a fool by his peers. Which may leave some victims disconnected from the world should they take the hoax to heart. It is better to hold ones hands in the air and admit defeat and accept what has happened. It is probably for this reason that the victim laughs at what has happened to him.