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Money and Happiness:Neither in de Maupassants The Necklace, nor in Ibsens A Dolls House, did money bring happiness to people. Even less can it be said about Dostoevskys Crime and Punishment.

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Ian Mikhailov Professor Fischer English 102 29 September, 2008 Money and Happiness: A Philosophical View Through Works of Literature. People do love money. Wealth, in the eyes of the great majority, is the most direct and understandable measure of success. As success in life appears to most, it is closely related to one's feeling of happiness; the common tendency is to measure happiness in terms of financial success. But is it justified? Does money really bring happiness? Although everyone may have their own point of view, this essay will make an attempt to look at this subject as it is developed in the works of literature. While it may not give a clear answer, artistic interpretation provides a great opportunity for investigation and conclusions on the subject. Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace both approach the subject from a different angle. Another angle can be seen in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Some people love money because they do not have it. In Guy de Maupassant's The Necklace, Mathilde "had no dresses, no jewels, nothing. And she loved nothing but that, "she felt made for that" (de Maupassant 130). The craving for money, or at least for the appearance of its possession, led Mathilde to borrow an expensive necklace from a wealthy friend to show it at the ball given by the Minister of Public Instruction. ...read more.


For Mathilde, ten years of hard work and the loss of her youth was the price for a moment of enjoyment in front of a crowd of strangers. Perhaps her true happiness could have being found much closer - in her family, or her daily life. Readers can only hope she was able to find it in the end. Money played a very different role for Nora in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House. Perceived by many, including her own husband, as a "spendthrift", Nora, the main character of the play, needed money to pay the debt she made to save her husband's life. She did not seem to need money to be happy, but she needed it to reestablish herself in her own eyes, to gain confidence in life. And that, of course, would be happiness for her. She was hoping to let her husband know of her sacrifice one day, as Nora confesses to her former friend, Kristine: "...some day, perhaps... in many years time, when I'm no longer as pretty as I am now...Then it might be a good thing to have something in reserve" (Ibsen 821). But the situation takes a different turn- when blackmailed by the person who loaned Nora money leads to a painful resolution, Nora was deeply hurt by her husband's reaction; she feels she has no other choice but to leave, telling him: "What I mean is: I passed out of Daddy's hands into yours. ...read more.


It seems that in the end it was love that made him happy, not money. Realization of happiness came to both Raskolnikov and Sonya suddenly; here is how it was revealed in the final scene of the book: "How it happened he did not know. But all at once something seemed to seize him and fling him at her feet. He wept and threw his arms round her knees. For the first instant she was terribly frightened and she turned pale. She jumped up and looked at him trembling. But at the same moment she understood, and a light of infinite happiness came into her eyes. She knew and had no doubt that he loved her beyond everything and that at last the moment had come" (Dostoevsky 504). Neither in de Maupassant's The Necklace, nor in Ibsen's A Doll's House, did money bring happiness to people. Even less can it be said about Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. Yet is it fair to say that its presence in human life completely destructive? Of course it would not be true. However, it is not money itself that make people happy or sad; it is people's attitude towards it, and their attitude towards life itself. It wasn't the lack of money that troubled Mathilde, Nora, or Raskolnikov, it is the lack of recognition and the lack of substance in their lives. True happiness is not in financial wealth, it is inside a human heart. Everyone can find it; people just have to know how to look. ...read more.

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