While sitting by the fountains (at UMD) today reading Villette (by Charlotte Bronte), I came across this wonderful quote about happiness. For some context, the main character, Lucy Snowe, is being advised by a friend to “cultivate happiness” in order to prevent nightmares. Lucy then thinks to herself:
“No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.” –Charlotte Bronte
This definitely got me thinking. It also spurred me to go up to people and say “Happiness is not a potato.” I got some lovely reactions.
What do you think? Is Lucy just being unnecessarily critical? Or does she have a point about vegetable/ happiness metaphors? I’d love to know what you think.