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Student Name Professor Name Subject 8 May 2000

The Pursuit of Happiness.

People are always in the search of happiness. They try to do everything they can in order

to reach success, they earn money for having more material things, and they struggle in the wars

to obtain freedom. But the value of the different events that make people happy varies form time

to time.

In the period of Great Depression, that took place in the 1930s, the understanding of

happiness differed greatly from our present. It was the longest, most widespread, and deepest

depression of the 20th century. The World’s economy has declined greatly during the Great

Depression. People suffered from hunger, they had no jobs, no money. It was the hardest time in

their lives. So, they considered to be happy if they had something to eat.

The films such as Citizen Cane, Madam Pierce and Modern Times have reflected that


In Citizen Kane the person, who had everything but was not happy is depicted. Susan

Alexander tells to Mr. Kane in her final argument with him that just money doesn’t mean

anything. She says that he doesn’t give her anything he cares about. Mr. Kane buys everything

he wants, including an opera house for his wife to sing in; nothing really brings him the

happiness of “Rosebud”. This is the joy of the simple life of love and fun that is so often left out

of the American Dream. In the movies we see the simple life with the bare minimum brings more

happiness than the complexities of wealth.

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In the movie Madam Pierce the depiction of happiness is also. Are any of the characters

of the film happy? This is film noir, black and white, somber, usually about a crime. What truly

makes these characters happy? Is Mildred happy with her success? Is Monty Beragon happy with

his mansion? Is Veda happy with her mother’s money and mansion?

Probably the happiest

character in this movie is Kay, Mildred’s daughter who dies of pneumonia early in the movie.

Her death is in many ways, the death of happiness in the movie, because the focus in Mildred’s

life is now on Veda.

That is a symbolic move from materialism playing a part in one’s life, to

materialism playing the main part, because Veda is the total materialist, a scavenger in life, who

takes and takes. Veda moves Mildred out from a life of fulfillment to a life consumed by

materialism, culminating in Mildred’s “buying” a husband.

Modern Times is in the 1930s during the Great Depression era. This film has a very

important message to the viewer: the problem of unemployment, poverty, and hunger. It has a

number of wonderfully inventive and

memorable routines



that proclaim the

frustrating struggle by proletarian man against the dehumanizing effects of the machine in the

Industrial Age (at the time of Henry Ford's assembly line), and various social institutions.

So, what happiness means for people today. In 2012 people live in the abundance of the

different material things, they have highly paid jobs, can travel a lot, they are free because they

live in the democratic society. So often we buy into the fallacy that something or someone is

going to come along and make us happy – a new job, more money, a better relationship, etc. And

until that happens, we resign to being unhappy and unfulfilled. The fact of the matter is, if we

aren’t happy now, most probably, we never will be no matter what may come our way down the

line. However, they still have problems; they do not consider themselves happy. So, what we

need to be happy. This question is very controversial.

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A big part of this is not depending upon others, our current circumstance, or material

possessions to make us happy. We must take responsibility for our own happiness, and find it in

our very existence and in how we live our lives. Happiness is nothing more than attitude and

fulfillment. The old saying, “Either our glass is half full or half empty”, is very true indeed. How

we perceive our lives, who we are, and what we make of our current situations, has everything to

do with our ultimate happiness and personal fulfillment.

If we continually look down to road for our happiness, we’ll never find it, as with our

every step forward, the horizon moves one step further away. Consequently, happiness and

fulfillment may forever elude us. If our eyes are always fixed on the horizon, we’ll most

certainly miss what’s right at our feet.

The simple fact is, happiness and fulfillment are within our grasp – right here, right now.

Life is a journey, and we make it what it is – good or bad. For happiness and fulfillment doesn’t

come at the end of the journey, but rather, is found in the journey itself.

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Works Cited Films Citizen Cane, Madam Pierce and Modern Times