Happiness Begins Where Selfishness Ends Essay
“I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances. – Martha Washington Ekaterina Paul 10/11/2012 | Oscar Wild presents two conflicts between the stories of “The Selfish Giant” and “The Happy Prince”. The two main points is the giant being selfish and the happy prince being a helping hand to the poor society. These stories teach us realistic lessons in life, that selfishness and charity do not collide with each other.
Oscar Wilde shows that consequences of the selfish giant and that you will get nowhere in life if you treat people only for your own benefit. The story of “The Happy Prince” argues the statements made in the selfish giant can be overthrown. Wilde shows the lesson of charity is more powerful then the unselfish love of the selfish giant. I shall argue that helping people to see the advantage of the happiness in your and their hearts is the most important thing in life and that taking the time could save someone.
From my experience when I went to West Virginia on a mission trip I realized how happy it made me feel when the community smiled upon our helping hands. They realized that all people don’t treat others with disregard. This quote will present that the giant is waiting for change but he doesn’t realize he needs to change in order for the life around him to change. “I cannot understand why the Spring is so late in coming, said the Selfish Giant, as he sat at the window and looked out at his cold white garden; I hope there will be change in the weather” (Wilde 35).
In addition, “The Selfish Giant” shows the main characteristic is being selfish. Oscar Wild reveals that the giant is a representative of the world, but the world is a symbol of selfishness and Oscar Wilde shows that a person living in such a world is miserable and unhappy just like the giant in the story. The children tried to better the giant and his life by playing in his orchard, but he wanted the garden for himself. The children symbolized the pieces that try to come into his world and change the surroundings of his life, but the children were pushed off onto the air and the giant was back to his lonely selfish self.
In the story of “The Selfish Giant”, Oscar Wilde states in the giants point of view, “My own garden is my own garden,’ said the giant; any one can understand that, and I will allow nobody to play in it but myself. ‘ So he built a high wall all around it, and put up a notice-board”(Wilde 34). The giant blocked himself out from everybody and didn’t want to bothered with anything or anybody. Furthermore, selfishness is a key to unhappiness. Reflecting on my own experience of being selfish, everybody has a tendency of that characteristic, is that you can’t go anywhere in life if your alone in the world.
Not literally but in the state of mind that you are the only selfish person within your world. You won’t let anybody else enter your world because you think that is the only thing you have. Like the giant selfish people block out the good and bring in the evil. Just like spring never came for the giant until he realized reality. Oscar Wilde states in the giants point of view, “now I know why spring would not come here. I will put that poor little boy on the top of the tree, and then I will knock down the wall, and my garden shall be the children’s playground forever and ever”(Wilde 36).
Following this further, you will eventually have to give in to being miserable and let the outside world into your heart. Oscar Wilde presents the aftermath of the situation as a celebration of a bad deed that got turned over into good. Oscar Wilde states, “And the giant stole up behind him and took him gently in his hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree broke at once into blossoms, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them around the giant’s neck, and kissed him”(Wilde 37).
This explains that if you pay attention to what’s going around you that you might find a hint to success. The giant was freed because he realized the boy was the solution to his selfish problem. The boy was like an angel that was meant to help the giant overcome his problem. Open your world to others and they will let you into there’s. In this situation, the comparison is between selfish and charity. Oscar Wilde explains that these two characteristics couldn’t be any more opposite then they already are.
He represents them in s same book because he’s trying to make you a better person if you are in the same situation. It’s a hint to readers that most of us do have both sides of these two stories. Maybe Oscar Wilde is trying to help his audience get back into the world as great people as they can be. Oscar Wilde states in The Happy Prince, ” How wonderful the stars are, and how wonderful is the power of love”(Wilde 14). The power of love and sacrifice can endear us to God. Obliviously, charity brought importance to people and the world.
Even though the swallow was on his way to Egypt, in his heart he felt that he had stay and help the prince that was crying. The swallow was going to leave him but he ended up dying helping the poor. I think something that the prince had in his heart made the swallow stay and help the prince be the messenger to the poor. This type of charity brings healing to the heart. It brought the statue of the happy prince comfort and happiness. But giving away money is not the only way this could work.
Giving your time and the thought of caring about something will change someone’s life in the future. The swallow said “but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold”(Wilde15). Oscar Wilde put this in the book because when you help someone you should have that feeling of greatness. You should almost feel like a changed person coming into a new world full of charity and love. We learn that God loves those who love their fellow human beings. Moreover, the discussion that Oscar Wilde presents in the happy prince is about charity, but do people do it for the right reasons?
The swallow didn’t know what he was getting himself from the moment he sat on the statue of the prince. I don’t even think the swallow was even going to stay when the prince asked him to. He was acting like going to Egypt that benefited him was more important than helping the poor women in the window who has been knitting none stop and the sick boy in the bed in the other room. What did he see that made him stay? Was it the power of love? I think it was a look in the princes eyes that gave away to the swallow. The swallow knew how much the happiness of people meant to him.
The happy prince states to the swallow, “That is because you have done a good action”(Wilde 15). In general, some actions are not easy to complete. Especially the ones that point you towards charity and giving your love away to those you don’t know. It is hard on deciding on what action is good and which one is bad. Oscar Wilde pointed towards actions like charity. Charity is a hard action to complete sometimes. It all depends what kind of person you are and the type of love you have for humanity. Though being charitable can go both ways. Are you doing it for them or yourself?
Yes there is a type of charity that can go against the good. When you expect something back after you have given is a bad way of thinking about charity. The swallow in the happy prince states, “You are blind now, so I will stay with you always”(Wilde 18). Though it seems the prince played the swallow into staying by taking his eyes out, he knew this meant everything to the prince. Lastly, Oscar Wilde is trying to show through this story of the happy prince, the advantages through happiness. Happiness is like a desert, when you eat it, it tastes so sweet.
All people need to do is absorb the energy of happiness. Even though the swallow lost his life helping the poor, it made him feel so warm and good inside. The prince was said when the swallow died but he was happy that the swallow stayed by his side to help the poor. Both of them died for a great cause. But their deaths was not the end of happiness and charity. It made them not liable to death. That is why the angel from above chose them as the high born on earth. Oscar Wilde presents a good lesson in this fairytale. Charity is happiness.
Oscar Wilde states in this story about the prince, “As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful”(Wilde 21). In conclusions, these two characteristics have explained many things. The Power of charity and selfishness can either ruin you or make you. The giant got ruined by his selfishness before he changed his attitude. The happy prince was a great sign of love and happiness. Even though he wasn’t alive he showed signs to his messenger of what to do in the case of charity. Both the swallow and the prince died an honorable death because of the great deeds they performed.
Oscar Wilde stated in the happy prince, “Bring me the two most precious things in the city”, said the God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird”(Wilde 22). Oscar Wilde stated this because he is honoring those who have established the good and didn’t fall to the bad. Wilde presents that people are so easily vulnerable to the unhappiness of their hearts, that once they have established that happiness and charity is eternal then they will live their lives with eternal joy and greatness.
Work Cited Wilde, Oscar. Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. New York: New American Library, 2008