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Perception: A powerful tool for happiness

Posted on March 25, 2018

“The Standard Of Living” and “The Lesson” both offer a different perception on how socio economic factors can influence a persons happiness.

In the case of “The Standard Of Living” we can see as the story progresses how exactly the strong desires of Annabel and Midge influence their perception of what will make them happy in life; having 1 million dollars. To them it is the utmost important thing to have so they can splurge on fifth avenue and purchase all they want, however they are quickly struck with the reality that things on fifth ave are far more expensive than they believe. They’re reactions at the understanding of this only strengthens their desire to want more in life knowing that even money has it’s limits in purchasing what they want. They aren’t fazed by it, just continue to dream and increase their imaginary amount of money they will inherent.

“The Lesson” differs from this perspective in it’s ability to at the end show that happiness cannot simply be bought as a result of money. Miss Moore being the person to teach the children that lesson in particular through pointing out to one of the children a toy that was about as much as rent, food, or bunk bed for their home. The children walk away with a more valuable lesson then I believe Midge and Annabel do. Of course both are not within financial standing of buying items on fifth avenue, Midge and Annabel continue to associate the money to their inherent happiness. However, the children on the other hand walk away vexed at the thought of purchasing items that cost ridiculous prices when they can have just as good as time going to back to their neighborhoods and enjoy their tiny wealth there.

It truly makes you think in terms of at what point will we as a society enforce the idea in children’s minds that yes money is important, but not to that extent. Miss Moore does a great job at making sure the kids are not blinded by dollar signs and walks out with a more mature bunch of kids then when they walked in. I can already see those children growing up in an environment in which they want to make themselves happy as opposed to chasing some career that will promise them monetary returns. Which also is not a bad thing if it can get them out of poverty, but they will always be rich on the inside as a result.


  1. Jessica Hautsch

    You do a nice job of thematically tying these two readings together. Very strong analysis of “Standard of Living,” especially you observation that when Midge and Annabel realize how expensive everything is, they increase the sum of money in order to maintain their fantasy. You also effectively contrast the lesson of “The Lesson” with what Midge and Annabel learn. Nice work.

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