Being a college or university student often means doing a lot of written assignments: essays, movie or book reviews, lab reports, case studies, and term papers. Essay writing is the main task given by professors to test a student’s progress. There are a great variety of subjects that you may be asked to write about; an essay about happiness seems to be one of the most popular assignments. Lecturers like to say it is the easiest one. In fact, when it comes to writing it yourself, lots of problems seem to appear. One of the main problems is to decide what happiness is.
Also students often tend to be confused about the structure of an essay. One should remember that a good essay contains the following elements:
- Thesis statement.
- Body paragraphs.
The first part of an essay is the introduction. Here you have to introduce your topic, in this case it is an essay about happiness, in a manner that every reader will understand what points the essay will cover. Needless to say you should make your topic sound interesting. For this purpose you are free to use any appropriate quotation, question, or statement.
The second part is the thesis statement. This means that you have to express your main idea about the topic of your essay. Of course, the thesis does not always sound the same by the end of your essay; therefore you may need to adjust it when you have finished. In order to write a good thesis you should also keep in mind that it should not be longer than three sentences. If possible, write your thesis in one clear sentence.
In the body paragraphs you have to include a topic sentence at the beginning of each paragraph. All sentences which follow the topic sentence should develop, explain, and support the thesis comment. When talking about the number of the paragraphs you should have, there’s no a common rule. Sometimes it is enough to have three short paragraphs, and sometimes more than five paragraphs are needed.
In the last part of your essay you should write the conclusions you’ve made after developing your thesis statement. They should be as clear as they can be without introducing new ideas that were not mentioned in the body. Then check that your essay proved your thesis and do not present a long summary of the essay here.
Writing a Successful Essay on Happiness Secrets
Unfortunately, in order to get a successful mark it is not enough to know what a good essay looks like. Though it is important to follow the guidelines mentioned above, what you write in your essay is often far more important than how you write it. In this case your understanding of the topic plays a crucial role. When writing an essay on happiness, your primary task is to define what happiness means to you. That seems easy, doesn’t it? Happiness is when you are happy. But what makes you happy? Sounds like a simple subject, but it has so many meanings.
It’s often hard to make up your mind. Many philosophers have tried to answer the questions concerning happiness, from Plato to modern and postmodern thinkers. And now it’s your turn to do write an essay about happiness. All you have to do is give your own understanding of happiness. In this case try to think of some activities or maybe special people that make you feel happy. For example, one may say happiness is ice-cream in summer (kids usually love it), for someone else dancing all night long is real happiness, while for others – having something to eat and some place to sleep makes them happy. Everything depends on who you are and what you need to be happy. If you have material goods, but no family love and warmness, it is likely you will consider a big and caring family as happiness. If someone does not have sufficient money to live a decent life, probably, winning jack-pot could be a real happiness for that person. As you can see, happiness is all about personal feelings and thoughts. When you write your essay on happiness you need to express what you believe will make you happy.
Happiness Essay: What Does Happiness Mean For You
Every person determines the word happiness in his own special way connecting it with the way his or her life develops. We all invest different meanings in the concept of happiness. Some people may find their happiness in being in a romantic relationship. Others may find their happiness in wealth and fame. While others are being happy merely because they feel healthy and alive. I think that we give happiness different values at different stages of our lives. After all, it even happens that the same person today in order to be happy strives for love and family, while tomorrow the only things he or she is worried about are money and career, and after a while, all he or she needs is unimpaired health. Everyone determines the meaning of happiness differently, and this is the only universal recipe for how to become happy.
For a major part of the people, happiness is a material asset, a secure life. For spiritually rich people a possibility of spiritual growth is of great value. Despite the meaning that person includes, happiness does not occur by accident — it always has to be made, it has to be discovered, created, and produced, built from the ground up. And this could only be achieved by deciding to be happy. People must have a tenet to be happy no matter how difficult events await them ahead. By all means, life, with all those countless catastrophes and suffering, always gets in the way of people enjoying their own lives.This can indeed distort a person’s happiness.
Maybe the most important quality everybody needs to develop on their way to be happy is having gratitude. This is the quality of being thankful, a readiness to show appreciation for anything and to give one’s kindness in return. This is another approach that people of all cultures use to cultivate happiness. This method suggests to focus one’s mental energy on negative elements, such as health problems and financial issues, these people prefer to focus their energy on being thankful for waking up in the morning, for having around people they love and are being loved by, being able to breathe and think, for being alive. They are grateful for anything and anyone. The secret of a pleasant life is to make gratitude a daily habit or even a ritual (Russell, Bertrand, and Tim Phillips).
People seem to be so afraid of being lonely that they fail to recognize a toxicity in their social connections. Selfish, untrustworthy, and overall adverse people inflict more harm than good to their friends simply by being around them. Yes, life is rather lonely, and people die alone shortly after they are brought into this world alone. But this is something inevitable, that anyone is not able to postpone yet. Therefore, there is no point in focusing on negativity. It would be better to concentrate your energy on building happy and healthy relations with people, that worth of being the part of your life, because they know how important people. People need the company of others to dispel their solitude because it most likely will cause one to linger over negative things, such as problems and miseries. So people should be skeptical and uncertain when allowing strangers into their lives and getting close to people. Unfortunately, not all of the people have good intentions. Many exploit kindness of other people, and regrettably, this happens to the best out there (Russell, Bertrand, and Tim Phillips).
The most important thing that happiness is dependent on is one’s job. There is no matter how many hours a week the work last, there is also no matter how high profit it produces. The only thing that matters concerning the one’s job is how satisfactory one feels doing it. If he is working on the average job, that he does not even like, then he should quit it immediately. Such a position makes him a worse person, a person he does not want to be. If this situation causes one to resent his life, he needs to be looking for another job. It does not make him happy, it does not fulfill him — instead, it detracts him from his own happiness. Therefore, it would be much better for a person to make his or her hobby, the thing he loves doing the most to turn into his actual job. This means that to be happy, one must have to make crucial decisions regarding the job or career they choose (Thaler, Richard H, and Cass R Sunstein).
Finally, happiness is not something that is obtained by accident. Instead, this is a result of continuous and challenging work. But it can be accomplished — and not just short-life happiness, but also true, long-lasting happiness. Again, happiness is not something that just comes to a person. In fact, the majority of people have to work vigorously for an extended period of time in order to be happy. But this is something that every individual can create on their own. Happiness can befall into anyone’s hands, mostly because everyone deserves to be happy.
Russell, Bertrand, and Tim Phillips. The Conquest Of Happiness. Oxford, Infinite Ideas, 2010.
Thaler, Richard H, and Cass R Sunstein. Nudge. New York, Penguin Books, 2009.
Essay About Happiness Help
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1. Does the story, The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas successfully defeat utilitarianism? In answering this, you should discuss (a) whether the utilitarian is committed to holding that it is morally right to keep the child in those conditions, and (b) whether there is a plausible utilitarian response.
Here is the sample essay:
Thesis: Ursula Leguin's story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, fails to successfully defeat utilitarianism because the scenario proposed has little relevance to any real world situation, and has the counterproductive effect of exposing moral weaknesses within our own society.
In the story, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, Ursula Leguin presents a scenario in which an entire city's population can experience an extremely pure form of happiness, so long as one child lives in a constant state of wretched misery (229). The specific reasons and mechanisms that led to the creation and maintenance of this situation are left deliberately vague, allowing the reader to focus on the emotional states of the parties involved. Leguin does this in order to paint a picture of a utilitarian utopia a world in which the well-being of the vast majority can be guaranteed through the suffering of a very few. The reader is then invited to evaluate the ethical nature of this society, thus testing the validity of a strictly utilitarian morality.
However, before using Leguin's vision as a test of utilitarian morality, we must first ensure that it accurately conforms to the ideals of this philosophy. Utilitarianism is based on the principle of utility: that moral rightness is determined by whatever course of action produces the greatest amount of good in combination with the minimum amount of suffering (Tiffany 2). Leguin illustrates this concept with Omelas a city in which the universal happiness of the populace is dependent on the abject suffering of a nine year old child (229). The mechanism that allows this feat to be achieved is deliberately left unexplained, and many aspects of the society are left open to the interpretation of the reader. These ambiguities force the reader to make a moral evaluation based solely on emotional intuition, eliminating the possible use of technical loopholes to avoid the tough ethical question. For example, Leguin invites us to interpret the happiness of the Omelas citizens in whatever way we feel is most pure and wholesome (227), and is careful to stress that these people understand both the nature and source of their contentment (229). This careful definition forestalls any argument that the happiness of the people of Omelas is somehow devalued by their situation, which might attempt to circumvent the question at hand.
While Omelas can be accepted as an example of a morally just utilitarian society, one point should be clarified before moving on. It must be understood that in this scenario, all aspects of the childs suffering are absolutely necessary. Leguin states this explicitly the terms are strict and absolute; there may not even be a kind word spoken to the child (230) however the childs plight is of such a seemingly senseless and horrific nature, that utilitarianism may still appear intuitively sadistic by association. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, since utilitarianism desires to minimize suffering as much as possible, provided there is not a greater cost to the good of others. In this respect, Leguins scenario puts the utilitarian in a difficult position. Since she does not explain the mechanism behind Omelas happiness, a true utilitarian is bound to condone the situation as is, even though it seems to have little relevance to the real world.
Having established that Omelas approximates the utilitarian ideal of a morally just society, we can evaluate whether it demonstrates obvious ethical flaws in this philosophy. At the end of the story, Leguin describes how, despite Omelas utopian qualities, its citizens occasionally abandon the city and never return. Although they understand that the greater good is being served, they nevertheless intuitively feel that a moral wrong is being done, and do not wish to be associated with it. This aspect of the story establishes the author's stand on utilitarianism, however the story itself does not provide a convincing argument for this position.
The major reason for this failure is Leguins overuse of ambiguity, and her choice to leave specifics of the situation open to the interpretation of the reader. This approach allows for a dramatic illustration of a theoretical consequence of utilitarian ideology, however the scenario is so far-fetched that it is very difficult to evaluate intuitively on moral grounds. The reader is asked whether it is worth forcing a child to live in its own feces (229), so that one can live in a society in which ... beautiful nudes can just wander about, offering themselves like divine soufflés to the hunger of the needy and the rapture of the flesh (227). The former sounds horrible, but the latter sounds pretty good, but since the reader has probably never experienced either, he/she is not a competent judge and cannot take a stand with any strong conviction.
A second element of Leguin's story, which weakens her attack on utilitarianism, is that Omelas seems substantially better than the world we currently live in. People in other countries undergo an immense amount of suffering, so that we can have cheap oil, tight-fitting Gap T-shirts and other luxuries of Western society. The cumulative suffering brought about by this exploitation appears much greater than the misery of the one child in Omelas. Furthermore, despite our frequent abuse of the less fortunate, we are substantially less happy than the people of Omelas. Our fleeting experiences with store-bought or drug-induced joy, pale in comparison with the pure contentment described by Leguin. She asks us to condemn the Omelas society as morally wrong, however to do so would be to admit that we ourselves are moral deviants of a much worse degree. Whether or not this is true, the human psyche is naturally resistant to such self-flagellation, and so the reader will be reluctant to take Leguin's position.
Thus we have seen that although Leguin's Omelas is an effective illustration of a theoretical consequence of the utilitarian viewpoint, it does not succeed in exposing ethical failures in the philosophy. From a utilitarian viewpoint, Omelas is a morally just society, however the ambiguities in its description limit its usefulness in any kind of real world ethical discussion. Furthermore, an undecided reader may be unwilling to condemn Leguin's utilitarian paradise, since it seems superior in many respects, to the world we currently live in.
Leguin, Ursula. "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas". The Winds Twelve Quarters. US: Harper & Row Publishers, 1975, pp 224 - 231.
Tiffany, Evan. Slides for the unit on Utilitarianism. http://www.sfu.ca/~etiffany/teaching/phil120/120.html. 2003.