Monday, July 31, 2006

The Goal of Happiness

Happiness may have been made the goal for the citizens of the One State because Zamyatin wanted people to see that happiness could not be forced upon people by the government, rather it is something everyone has to find for themselves. The One State government is trying to create happiness to all under a single definition, but happiness is something everybody has their own definition to. What makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily apply to another person. There seems to be a kind of irony to this since the main goal in the One State actually produces the opposite effect, as D-503 demonstrates as he discovers experiences outside of the law that make him much happier. The law in the novel attempts to manage precisely what everyone does to control happiness, but happiness is not something to be controlled in a population.

There would be a different impact on the novel if some other criterion (like hard work) was the goal instead of happiness. There would not be the same effect of irony. Hard work could be a part of some people’s definition of happiness. Happiness is a broader subject and it can’t be forced. Hard work is something that can be forced.

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