Money Can’t Buy Happiness

September 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

I think a point of intersect occurs where the school meets the rest of the town. I believe the school is a basic representation for childhood and the town represents coming of age or being an adult. Although the children are looked upon as mostly naïve and immature, I think there are valuable lessons that can be taken from the beauty of innocence. One of them being that money can’t buy happiness.
Who defines how much something costs and how much something is worth? I think the idea of what defines wealth is brought up in Tom Sawyer. For example, at a young age, Tom and his friends fantasize little about big fancy cars and find more enjoyment in odd types of items. As Tom is manipulating the town boys into painting his fence he is trading and obtaining all sorts of possessions. When he is finally done with “the slaughter of more innocents” he describes himself as “being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning,” to then “literally rolling in wealth.” And with what? Money? Gold? Jewelry? Diamonds? Nope. Simply “a fragment of chalk…a tin soldier…a brass door-knob, a dog collar and four pieces of orange peel” (16). I think Mark Twain is trying to say that as a child, we are able to appreciate and find great joy in the simple items in life that are usually taken for granted. I think he is making a point that in a time where society is strongly centered around the price tag of something, it’s important to look back to our childhood and remember the times where we could spend hours and hours building castles out of a patch of dirt and twigs or collecting rocks and flowers. Twain is saying that we should remember to enjoy the simple things in life and ultimately that money can’t buy happiness.
Along with wanting money, people usually tend to want power as well. As our society has evolved we’ve become more centered around power and money. In fact, some argue that is what the United States is centered on. With the close of the frontier, it seems that is really all that’s left for the United States to focus on. There are no more unknown lands and dangerous territory that has yet to be explored. However, although the frontier has closed in the tradition sense, I think that it exists. I don’t think the word frontier is exclusivly referring to the land but instead it’s referring to change. For example, technology is a frontier because people are always striving for the best, new device and it is always undergoing changes. I think a frontier can also be a mind set and therefore be very personal. When a person goes through life, they have dreams and ambitions and are typically thrown many obstacles while trying to achieve those things. So the journey one takes through life is unknown, sometimes dangerous, and constantly changing- a type of frontier. So, I believe that the idea of a frontier is eternal and can truely never end so long as life exists.


Tom & The Poodle

August 30, 2010 § 4 Comments

In Chapter V, Tom fights against his boredom while sitting in a long, drawn out church sermon. Easily distracted and impatient Tom decides to find relief from the sermon by playing with a pincher bug, but soon it bites Tom’s finger and the bug is thrown into the path of a poodle dog. The dog “came idling along, sad at heart, lazy with summer softness and quiet, weary of captivity, signing for change” (39) and much like Tom, the dog is eager for any sort of distraction. So, the dog’s attention is quickly transferred as he, “spied the beetle…surveyed the prize…grew weary at last, and then indifferent and absent minded…and little by little his chin descended and touched the enemy who seized it” (39). In their similar behavior towards the beetle, it is seen that the dog and Tom are direct parallels to one another. Both are captives in the church and are forced to fight their instincts to explore, play and run wild. One would expect the dog to give in and play with the beetle but it is ultimately both Tom and the animal that succumb to this instinct. After Tom witnesses this he sees that “the dog looked foolish, and probably felt so, but there was resentment in his heart too, and a craving for revenge” (39). Once again the dog and Tom relate in that they are both curious, foolish and crave revenge. I think it is clear then that the author is trying to point out that Tom can relate more to animals then to the rest of society. Tom’s relationship with animals and Nature is more intimate and special because that’s where he feels like he fits in and belongs.

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