Personal Response, Lewis’s Pursuit of Happiness

Essay by Spacebound21College, UndergraduateA-, November 2014

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Desmond Jarman

English 012


Personal Response, Lewis's Pursuit of Happiness

"We Have No Right to Happiness" by C.S. Lewis is an essay that poses the question "do we really have a "right" to happiness?" and if we do then "to what extent do laws prohibit them?" In his essay, Lewis outlines the roles that society's laws and natural laws play in justifying the pursuit of happiness. I do agree that both laws play a role in almost every decision we make regarding our own happiness, but I also believe that these laws are useless as they are manipulated to justify wrongful pursuits of happiness. If Lewis's purpose in titling this essay was to state that we as humans truly do not inherit the right to happiness, I agree entirely. Happiness should not be seen as an entitlement, as it ever so often is, but a privilege. It should not be used as an excuse to abandon responsibility.

Lewis starts his piece in an ever so unsuspecting way with a quote from his neighbor Claire; "They had a right to happiness." He then elaborates on the subject behind this quote revealing the story of two people, Mr. A and Mrs. B and how they abandoned their spouses in the pursuit of happiness. In the story, Mr. A, who leaves his wife, is somewhat compared to a leech, sucking the youth right out of her until she had lost all of her looks and liveliness. This is up until her suicide, of which he responds with the utterly pathetic quote, "But what could I do? A man has a right to happiness. I had to take my one chance when it came." (pg 1003) I find this as a perfect example of "the right to happiness", being used as an excuse...