At first we are being asked as the reader, what we prefer. Wealth or happiness. David Brooks uses the actress Sandra Bullock as an example of the dilemma. Sandra Bullock won an Academy Award for best actress, but then a news report came and claimed that her husband is a cheating jerk.
That puts things in another perspective, because who does not want to be recognized for your work, but is that better than loosing your love. David points out that winning this Award is one of the best things that can happened to an actor/actress; not only because of the credit and the money, but it has been proved that Award winners live longer than people who only have been nominated. After that David is very clear with his opinion on this situation.
If you need to think about the question, what you want to choose, between the husband or the Award, you must be crazy in his eyes. He says that the relationship between income and happiness is tricky. If you are poor and you earn a lot of money you become happy. Let us say that you are in the middle-class and your income increases. That will not have the same effect as if you go from poor too normal, because you have lived with such a small amount of money you learn to appreciate even a small amount of money; compared to a middle-class person who wins the lottery, because it does not change his life majorly.
2. How does David Brooks engage the reader in text 1?
David is very good at engaging the reader. He uses an example from real life and involves the reader by asking questions most of the time. He makes the reader think about what we just read by asking questions about the readers opinion. He is a very distinguished reporter for the New York Times, examined the relationship between wealth and happiness in his article “The Sandra Bullock Trade”: a seemingly simple – almost cliché – concept.
He is however able to draw the reader in by the use of 2 simple literary techniques. Primarily, Brooks captures the readers’ attention by his title and his intro paragraph. Many newspapers readers make snap judgments about whether they should or they should not read an article or not by just looking at the title. It was not a mistake that Brooks used Sandra Bullock as his example. She is a famous, beautiful, and successful actress whose general popularity will make his article – not only appealing – but relate able to his audience. Another technique that Brooks utilizes is his choice of language. It is very colloquial and understandable.
By using phrases like “nothing to sneeze at” instead of words like “insignificant” the author makes his text more relate able to his readers – as if they are speaking with a friend. If they are more likely to understand his meaning and his lively tone then they will more likely to continue to read. The task of a newspapers writer is different than an authors task. Their job is to lure the reader in and to keep them interested for a short amount of time the reader will spend on each article. Brooks does this effortlessly by using simple and accessible vocabulary and comfortable and using a relate able vignette to initially catch his readers’ attention.
3. Based on the opinions voiced in texts 2 and 3, discuss whether spending money makes people happy.
In text 2 Stephanie Rosenbloom discuss with herself if it is possible to buy happiness and if “yes” then would it be an experience or just a simple piece off clothing. It is a longer lasting happiness if you buy a vacation, than a couch. That is the idea. Living in the world we live in now, we need these little things that make our everyday life a little better. Of course a vacation is good because it is something you will not forget that easy and you will cherish the memories for the rest of your life, compared to a simple couch that might only last 5 years. Almost every time you spend money it will make you happy.
You do not buy something that does not make you happy. The research there has been made tells us that greater wealth implies greater happiness only at quite low levels of income. But when the researchers have asked people about their happiness they have simply been asked how satisfied they are with their lives. Which is a very difficult question. Because it is not possible by asking people about their life satisfaction, to measure what the amount of money they have in their lives play in their everyday life, in terms of happiness and satisfaction.
Spending money can make you happy, but the level of happiness depends on what you buy and it will not be enough. There is more to life than just being in a good mood. Happiness can be more than that, but not just by spending money.