College Essay Examples

Harold and Maude


The novel ‘Harold and Maude’ is the best of the four books because it has an interesting storyline that has combined comedy with dark humor. The story is about a young man named Harold who has an unhealthy interest in death and dark humor. His hobby is attending funerals, and he enjoys staging fake suicides and other jokes. When he meets a seventy-nine-year-old lady named Maude who shares his passion for funerals and death, it changes his life to the extent that when she is finally committing suicide, she leaves him a sad person. This paper provides information regarding why the book ‘Harold and Maude’ is considered the best of the four stories.


The story ‘Harold and Maude’ is the best of the novels comprising of ‘From a Buick 8,’ ‘Circle of Friends or ‘I, Claudius.’ This is because it successfully combines elements of comedy to make the story quite funny while incorporating aspects of dark humor. The story manages to rely on a structure that forms it on the basis of two different ironies, and it makes it an extremely interesting read. The author focuses on combining both aspects of comedy and dark humor without venturing too much to the extremes of both (Bozzola, 2010).

The story ‘Harold and Maude’ excellently grasps the attention of the reader with the simple plot and straightforward narration. The story is comparably better than Stene King’s ‘From a Buick 8’ because it provides much more humor and is more relatable to the real world for the reader. The story by Steven King explores the death of a police officer whose son tries to uncover only to realize that there are supernatural forces in play. The story is frightening and exciting, but not as compared to the simplicity and humor that has been contained in ‘Harold and Maude.’

The story ‘Harold and Maude’ makes use of relatable life events to include in the narration as part of the story. Despite the basic plot following the lives of, first, Harold, then Maude, there is a lot of information provided about social relations and expectations. The narration of the story focuses on some of the demands that Harold’s mother puts on her son, particularly when she finds out that the seventy-nine-year-old is a very close friend of her son’s. She insists to Harold that he ought to behave better in school, get a job, marry a decent woman and start a family (Dramatica, 2017).

Harold, however, has every intention of going against the social norms and behaving as freely as he desires. When he meets Maude, any impulse of conforming to the social norm is lost because he has found somebody who shares a similar passion for death and funerals just like he does. The story builds on the social aspects of life and certainly makes it a much better read than I, Claudius that provides an autobiography of the life of the fourth Emperor of Rome, Claudius (r. 41-54 AD).

The defiant struggle to break away from the norms that have defined society makes the story ‘Harold and Maude’ interesting and the best to read (Atanasov, 2012). It provides contemporary information about the importance of the community surrounding an individual and the manner in which that community influences the behavior of the individual. The story provides an insight into the importance of each person exploring their inner interests and hobbies despite any rebuke from the community. The actions of Harold, in the right circumstances, can be viewed as heroic because he completely ignores the social norms to explore the true happiness in his heart that might not be necessarily agreeable with everybody else.

The story, certainly, is an interesting read particularly when Harold considers proposing to Maude after she turns eighty years old. The sensitive topic of a much younger man marrying a much older woman is raised, making the story interesting for the plot that it is exploring (Atanasov, 2012). The sensitive topic is interesting and certainly draws a significant level of attention to the character of both Harold and Maude because society considers it immoral for such an engagement to exist. The interesting aspect of the story is that the reverse is not considered immoral in society because much older men do marry much younger women in society.

The story certainly is much more interesting than Maeve Binchy’s story ‘Circle of Friends’ despite the fact that both have a general theme of changing social norms. Unlike ‘Harold and Maude,’ Circle of Friends’ does not contain as much humor, and the story is focused mostly on providing information about the progress of social relationships. The relationship between Benny and Eve is focus on the plot of the story, and it does provide pertinent information about society as ‘Harold and Maude,’ but the presentation and narration are not as funny.

The story ‘Harold and Maude’ was excellently composed to provide an insight into some of the changing social norms and the importance of believing in oneself (Bozzola, 2010). Prior to committing suicide, Maude made it a point to ensure that Harold understood the importance of exploring the joys of his life while he is still alive. This parting message is perhaps the reason Harold decides not to commit suicide at the end of the story, but instead, stage another elaborate suicide joke and leave the door open to exploring his life further.


The story ‘Harold and Maude’ is excellently told in such a way as to keep the maximum attention of the reader by depicting different strange social scenarios. The story is inspirational to an extent because it highlights the actions that Harold took that were contradictory to the entire community but very aggregable with him. The fact that he was willing to continuously stage elaborate pranks despite what they depicted, and the sacrifice to live a normal life marks out the story as the best as compared to the other three. There is a significant amount of contemporary information that has been provided about social relations, and the ending is also encouraging for the reader to also consider exploring their own interests in society.

Works Cited

Atanasov, S. (2012). Harold and Maude Blu-ray Review.

Bozzola, L. (2010). Harold and Maude – Overview. Allmovie. Dramatica. (2017). Harold and Maude: Comprehensive Storyform. Retrieved 8 February 2017.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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