Nov 9, 2011
by: A-Fratto

In the poem “Happiness,” author Priscilla Leonard neatly explores perfection as to why humans pursue it, it’s cost, and inability to be fully attained. While labeled “happiness,” the subject matter is really about utopia and perfection. Not only does Leonard title “Happiness” meant to mock our idea of total perfection and utopia, but also to point out that one cannot have happiness when one reaches utopia. A person only knows happiness if they know sadness. But if there were total perfection then one would never know sadness and thus never know happiness. Emotions and feelings are lost. Would you really sacrifice your thoughts and emotions just to attain perfection and then realize it isn’t perfect because you have nothing left to compare perfect to?

A utopian society is ideally supposed to beautiful and perfect, like happiness. We get our taste of it here and there but it is never attainable, as Leonard describes in relating utopia to fragmented pieces of a crystal, “there are so many piece, no one ever finds them all (line. 7-8).” Although we may chose to attempt perfectness whether to gain beauty, wealth, honor, love, or health, the choice to do so is vain. Instead we should learn to “ever be thankful, (line. 21)” for the happiness and “treasures” we do have.