A fulfilling life is a subject of broad dimension. Indeed, the pursuit for happiness has been the ultimate objective of every person (Veenhoven et al. 1946) However, with the unequal chances that human beings have, human beings have, and leading a gratifying life is not a guarantee to all. Reasons for unmatched chances for humans to attain a satisfying life are wide-ranging (Peterson et al.) In the keen analysis of the two poems: “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes and “Richard Cory” – by Edwin Robinson, it is apparent that socioeconomic status creates that inequality. The socioeconomic status of a person affects their ability to lead a fulfilling life.
Affluence is a gesture for a fulfilled life. In stanza 4, line one and three in Richard Cory “And he was rich- yes, richer than a king (1)” “In fine, we thought that he was everything (3)” This implies that the rich are considered to lead a happy life, and the poor a miserable life to the extent that the persona wishes to be like Richard (4).
Similarly, the struggles of life that the underprivileged go through hinders one from attaining a fulfilling life. When the persona says that her life had tacks in it and splinters, this creates a vivid mental picture of poverty (poem “Mother to Son”). All the time in her life, she has undergone struggles to overcome the odds of life. The poet’s choice of words like tacks and splinters, help convey the message of poverty (Hughes 165). Through that, we understand well how low socioeconomic status hinders a person from leading a satisfying life.
However, socioeconomic status does not signal imminent failure or success in pursuit for happiness but rather serves as a reminder of what is required human beings in order to reach desired goals in the journey of quest for life happiness (Easterlin 149- 156) It is a motivational factor toward fighting every nature of odds of life. In the poem, “Richard Cory” Stanza 4, “so we worked and waited for the light” (1), the theme of the poem is persistence in this quest for happiness. Similarly, the mother advises the son not to turn back no mother how steep situation might turn out to be.
In both poems, the authors seem to agree that the road to pursuing happiness in life is rough. To break through to achieving a fulfilled life, struggles are inevitable. Resilience and persistence are needed. How the author employs hyperbole when he says ‘he glittered when he walked’ (2), (4)? This statement leaves readers with the imagination of the walking style of the persona. In so doing this stylistic device has helped pass the message with ease.
Admiration has been pointed out as one feature of those with a fulfilled life. This admiration is attached with the socioeconomic status of a person. However, high socioeconomic status is not always a guarantee for a happy life. Perhaps those that are considered happy in life might not be leading a fulfilled life as they are thought to be. Portraying happy outward look does not necessarily mean that one is fulfilled in life. Richard was thought to be leading a happy life, but when he reaches home, he shoots himself. He had hidden struggles in his life.
Hughes, Langston. “Mother to Son.” Selected Poems of Langston Hughes, 1926, p. 165.
Peterson, Christopher, et al. “Strengths of Character, Orientations to Happiness, and Life Satisfaction.” The Journal of life fulfillment, vol. 2, no. 3, 2007, pp. 149–156.
Veenhoven, Ruut, et al. Happiness in life throughout Nations: Subjective Appreciation of Life in 56 Nations 1946–1992. Erasmus University Rotterdam, 1993.