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The pursuit of happiness

It is often said that the pursuit of happiness is the purpose of life. While there are several versions and opinions on how this can be achieved, there seems to be a general agreement that having money or being secure in all aspects of life is one way of achieving this goal. Having the money to buy whatever one needs in life and to be secure in the comforts that money can provide also grants security which is often equated with happiness.

It is certainly difficult to dispute with this statement given the fact that almost everything can be found for sale in today’s society just as last month’s headline featured a woman who was willing to auction off her virginity online. The dispute is not such a dispute but more of a qualification that while money may be the key that controls all aspects of one’s life in certainly cannot be taken in the absolute. As one can see in the story, The Doll’s House by Ibsen, there are many aspects which control or influence a person’s life.

In general, the play’s female characters exemplify Nora’s assertion (spoken to Torvald in Act Three) that even though men refuse to sacrifice their integrity, “hundreds of thousands of women have. ” In order to support her mother and two brothers, Mrs. Linde found it necessary to abandon Krogstad, her true—but penniless—love, and marry a richer man. The nanny had to abandon her own child to support herself by working as Nora’s (and then as Nora’s children’s) caretaker.

As she tells Nora, the nanny considers herself lucky to have found the job, since she was “a poor girl who’d been led astray. ” Though Nora is economically advantaged in comparison to the play’s other female characters, she nevertheless leads a difficult life because society dictates that Torvald be the marriage’s dominant partner. Torvald issues decrees and condescends to Nora, and Nora must hide her loan from him because she knows Torvald could never accept the idea that his wife (or any other woman) had helped save his life.

Furthermore, she must work in secret to pay off her loan because it is illegal for a woman to obtain a loan without her husband’s permission. By motivating Nora’s deception, the attitudes of Torvald—and society—leave Nora vulnerable to Krogstad’s blackmail. Similarly, in “The Lottery,” the actions of an entire town are dictated by necessity and need for security. The act of drawing lots and selecting one person to sacrifice in order to ensure the security of good harvest is one that can be likened to the sacrifices made in “The Doll’s House.

” Man’s instinct for survival and for the perpetuation of the species is so powerful that any means by which that security can be assured such as though the accumulation of wealth becomes an acceptable alternative. From this point of view, it becomes clear that money or the need for security does indeed control all the aspects of life. This is not the absolute truth, however, as certain aspects of life are also influenced by other matters.

In the story, The Chrysanthemum, it can be seen in the modest lifestyle of the married couple that money or security does not control every aspect of life. As the story shows, the frustration and lack of romance or emotion is what drives the relationship of the couple. Their existence is not based on money or on security but is in fact based on the emotional aspects. This is quite different from the earlier assertion that money and security controls all aspects of life, though it should bear pointing out that the financial standing of the couple was far from impoverished.

To stress this even further, the frustrations faced by the businessman in The Five Forty Eight are not borne out of any lack of money but rather are the result of a relationship gone sour. This, if anything, signifies that there are other considerations that affect the course of one’s life. It is not simply money or the seeming lack of it that matters but interpersonal relationships that transcend all of these material desires. The real consideration in life is still in fact the pursuit and attainment of happiness, be it through money, security or otherwise.

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