29 October 2014
Money Does Not Buy Happiness
The theme of the poem, "Richard Cory," by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is that money cannot buy happiness. The poem is about a man who everyone thinks is a "gentleman from sole to crown" (Robinson 3), who is richer than a king and glistens when he walks (9-10). The townspeople only knew Richard Cory for his outward appearance and wealth but obviously knew nothing of his inner struggles that lead to his suicide. Perhaps Mr. Cory was put on such a high pedestal by the townspeople that he was unable to gain any closeness or friendship with any of them. It is difficult to enjoy wealth while being lonely and unhappy. Too many people are under the impression that the more money they make, the happier they will become; this couldn't be further from the truth.
Research by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed the lives and incomes of nearly half-a-million randomly selected U.S. citizens. They dug through the subjects' lives searching for indicators of something psychologists call "emotional well-being," a clinical term for how often you feel peaks and valleys like "joy, stress, sadness, anger and affection" and to what degree you feel those things daily. In other words, they measured how happy or sad people were over time compared to how much cash they brought home. They did this by checking if the subjects were consistently able to experience the richness of existence, by whether they were tasting the poetic marrow of life (McRaney).
The researchers discovered money is indeed a major factor in day-to-day happiness. People need to make a certain amount, on average, to be able to afford food,