Ciardi is attempting to create a definition of happiness. To this end, he provides multiple examples to describe various aspects of happiness. He describe Thoreau’s dedication to spend as little time on lower level activities. With the time he saved on low level things, Thoreau would spend it on higher level activities. Thoreau’s effort to spend as little time on the trivial, is one of the virtues of Ciardi’s definition of happiness. Another pillar of happiness is adversity. With no challenge, there is no enjoyment in accomplishing a task. Ciardi then follows with a boundary for his definition; that happiness cannot be bought nor is static.
I agree with Ciardi wholeheartedly. I believe that people thrive from challenges. Why else do we work harder when there is someone else vying for a job or when they are catching up in a race? But happiness is enigmatic, happiness for one person can be completely different for another. I agree with one of Ciardi’s last statements, that happiness can only be partial. to become truly happy, is to completely live life. And I will always be striving for that eternal bliss.