Happiness may be defined as something a person reaches after following a planned path. It can be a way of reaching something that we lack or a sign that one has what he wants. For example, a plant is believed to be happy if it looks healthy. If farmers see their toil to be fruitful, they feel cheerful. Therefore, the term happiness is energetic and motivated since people aspire to achieve it. Mentioning the word happiness makes one happy. Repetition of the word makes one even happier. Happiness can make one stop at some point. For example, ‘I need a house in order to be happy’. It suggests comfort or joy, and can be either an end or a beginning of a story.
According to John Stuart Mill, happiness explains what people desire. This means that human beings desire something that gives them happiness. Statements regarding happiness can be either false or true. For example, some researchers assert that feminism brings unhappiness to women by increasing their aspirations, or through challenging their gender roles. Other people will argue that feminist brings happiness. Others believe that feminist brings neither happiness nor unhappiness, hence indifference. Happiness can be found when something is being missed simply because unhappiness occurs because of lack of something, which can be gained when sought for. The term happiness is closely associated with ethics because of its emotional value. Some people go to an extent of describing good life as happy life. A virtuous person also appears to be a happy person. Therefore, happiness measures the ‘goodness’ of something. In order to appreciate happiness, people require the understanding of the term’s intimacy.
The State of Happiness
Happiness can only be secured if it is within our control. People should not hope for happiness when it is beyond their reach. Eventually, this leads to disappointments. Happiness of a wise person rests upon being virtuous and wise. Happiness can be found in fortunes such as attention, discipline, and education. However, this does not mean that unfortunate people lack happiness. Rather it means that a happy person thinks of himself/herself as virtuous and wise despite being fortunate. Unhappiness means suffering one’s fate, while being happy means determining one’s fate. It is not an obligation to be unhappy. People should avoid romance out of unbearable experiences. Unhappiness does not simply mean a feeling that one needs to overcome. It can, as well, offer lessons that promises of happiness are not always met because there are certain limits. One may be shielded from crisis by happiness, but at times, it may fail. Whenever a crisis arises, one wonders the right way to follow. This gives possibilities and happiness can be used to shield an individual from recognizing these possibilities. Ethics can also be a crisis and one may want to change his/her lifestyle even though it means being unethical, or leading to unhappiness.
Noteworthy is that something can be good for one person, but bad for another. Involving possibilities would mean going backwards or returning to the past mistakes. There can be a possibility of being unhappy, and this possibility means grasping joy, as well as terror. Happiness does not last. This means that a person cannot be happy throughout all the life. Times change and people find themselves in grievous situations. Shared impressions can lead to happiness. For example, people can burst into laughter after remembering an event. Happiness should be sought for when there is a lack of it since it is a necessity. Moments of bliss make people happy. Being misfortunate does not always mean that a person does not act. Frustrations are always there no matter how hard people work towards happiness. Therefore, people ought to know what they can achieve and what they cannot. This way, they will be able to have achievable expectations, hence, no frustrations that lead to unhappiness.
In the chapter ‘Feminist killjoys’, we learn of what can be found behind the happy image of an American housewife. Several researches have been conducted to show whether housewives are happier than working wives. Results indicate that traditional housewives appeared happier than the modern wives who got jobs. Aiming at being feminist gives women unhappy desires. Therefore, a relation exists between unhappiness and feminism. To explain such misfortune, some authors use the the housewifes’ ‘consciousnesses’. Happiness is achieved through orientation. One will want to achieve that which leads to good life. Therefore the state of happiness is closely related to education since it offers orientation. A child is shaped by what happens to it. A person gets educated with the hope of leading a lucky life in the future. Virtues also lead to happiness, and, therefore, cultivating virtues makes one happy. In this book, a character named Sophy gets educated on how to become a good wife. A woman must be pleasing, respectful and loving.
Women must always maintain bliss in their homes. A woman believes that virtues lead to happiness. She believes that a bad woman is a disgrace, unhappy, poor, and one who neglects things. She must behave that way because her parents expect that from her. Her happiness is achieved through making her parents happy. Sophy is this kind of a woman, but we fail to understand whether she is happy personally, or she just makes other people feel joyful. Happiness should follow natural paths. Felicity also should not be used to make relations secure because this makes happiness an instrument. It should be the aspiring force that shapes the world. Educating women on how to be happy serves as happiness scripts that give instructions. Happiness can keep an individual out of trouble. Desires and imaginations can make one dolorous. Imagination makes a woman think much and provides her with several questions in her mind, which remain unanswered. Feminists lack a sense of humor because they fear contradicting themselves of annoying others. People should acquire total bliss when they laugh at the right time. Feminists, on the other hand, force themselves to laugh simply because it is their duty to make others happy, and not to be gloomy (Gilbert, 2006).
Some people believe that feminists are not genuinely happy, and that they try to show felicity because they envy other women. Unhappiness can make one realize the cause for this state by evaluating the events leading to it. Conditional happiness exists whereby a person should be happy because someone else is lucky. Such happiness does not bring satisfaction in terms of happiness. A person ought to be happy naturally and this state does not have to be conditioned. To leave happiness behind means stopping being sympathetic. Sadness arises when a person realizes that gender can lead to loss of possibility and such loss does not make things possible.
One can also inherit unhappiness like in the case of Clarissa who inherits infelicity from Mrs. Dalloway. Many women spend their lives as housewives, yet they have talents, which could be used elsewhere. This does not lead to happiness at all since they end up not achieving happiness that could have come otherwise in a natural way due to exercising their talents. Therefore, behind a happy face of a housewife lays sadness. Some people will go to an extent of wanting to understand the attributes of happiness. Pecola is staring at the mirror for long hours so that she can discover her ugliness that makes people dislike her. This is because both students and her fellow students do not like her. She believes that beautiful eyes would make people admire her. She wishes she had blue eyes.
Consciousness of something makes one live in a different world. For example, if a feminist realizes that she leads a different life from that of non-feminists’, she is likely to have burdensome feelings. She may even change her attitude towards feminism because she will realize that she is forces to behave in a certain way simply to make others happy. In the story ‘To room nineteen’, a story of two people is told. These two people fall in love and they get married after waiting for so long. Their friends got married when they were young and they lived in regrets for wasted opportunities. The couple’s happiness is increased when their friends compliment them by saying that they suit each other. The two of them have well-payed jobs and they are comfortable about it. The wife remains happy even after she quits job after giving birth. The two build a house, which makes them very pleased. It is a proud couple that makes fun of themselves. The husband is available all the time, at night and during the day. This couple avoided falling into the same pit that their friends had fallen. They feared that their marriage would collapse as many marriages did.
Susan promises her heart that she will go back to employment so that she will be independent once again. One time Mathew, the husband, came home late. He confessed that he was at a party and that he slept with another girl. Susan felt betrayed, but she forgave him. The infidelity came after ten years of marriage. The couple experienced periods of unhappiness. Sometimes their children would suffer from measles, which would disturb Susan. After their recovery, Susan realized that she had been lonely for a long time; that she lacked freedom while staying with her husband. It was at this time that she became friends with Mrs. Parker, a widow who worked hard to earn a living. After making friends with her, Susan became independent once again. She felt happy that she was now free from ‘imprisonment’. She could now do whatever she wished to do. She could also visit whomever she wanted (Cutler, 1998).
In conclusion, happiness comes from within an individual. The term happiness itself makes one happy. Repetition of the word makes one even happier. People always want to achieve something so that they become joyful. However, happiness does not last forever. It comes and goes, just like life. For instance, in the case of Susan and Mathew, the couple used to be happy for over ten years, but later on problems started arising in their marriage. Moments of unhappiness can be used to teach one a lesson. For example, one can realize what he did, or what he did not do for the misfortune to happen to him. To explain true happiness, we went through the story of a housewife who was a feminist. We learn that feminism does not bring felicity, but rather there is something hidden behind the face of a happy housewife. These wives are taught how to be happy, and they feel happy when someone else becomes joyful. This is referred to as conditional happiness. However, the state of true happiness should come naturally. People should not be happy simply because the society expects them to be fortunate. Noteworthy, what makes one person happy does not necessarily benefit another person in the same way. At the same time, a person’s happiness can mean another person’s disappointment. For example, a thief can be happy after stealing something. The person, whose property has been taken, is left unhappy.