Happiness comes from both internal and external factors. Though most believe that happiness comes only from internal factors, there are multiple external factors, (along with internal,) that make happiness much easier to achieve. On the contrary, if you don’t have internal happiness, external factors that may create joy will seem like nothing. This mindset is proven right multiple times within the book Ethan Frome. In this book, Ethan clearly sees no pleasure in his life. Although there are some good things happening, he sees almost none of them, because he can not seem to find internal joy. One person to challenge Ethans happiness is his love for Mattie Silver. Mattie proves herself to be an external factor of happiness for Ethan, only foreshadowing how bad this relationship will turn out in the end, not to mention that he already has a wife. Another source that adds to this way of thinking is an article called ‘Happiness in relationships.’ Creating even more evidence why you need internal joy alongside external factors in order to be really happy.
The first reason happiness comes from both internal and external factors comes from the mindset of having the right perspective on situations. Even happy situations could not seem to bring joy to you,if you yourself are not happy. Your life could be perfect, though if you do not see it that way, external things like objects and money would be pointless to you.Though these objects could bring hollow, short term joy, through perspective, internal happiness will bring joy into all aspects of life. Ethan seems to rely on Mattie as an external factor of joy, (almost like a object!) This makes his life without her miserable. This proves you need to have some sort of internal happiness and contentment in order to achieve fulfilling, long lasting joy. A quote from ‘Happiness in Relationships’ reads: “It also puts into perspective the role of responsibility and the power of agreements in the area of emotion.” Ethan is too afraid to act on his feelings for Mattie, for the fear of being alone, and losing both Mattie, and his wife, Zenna. This causes him emotional pain and confusion. “Our mind associates this person leaving with our unhappiness,”- ‘Happiness in relationships’. If Ethan would just accept and show that he loves Mattie, this could open the door to Ethans sense of internal happiness. Because during this book, he only seems to taunt himself with his own feelings, “The wave of warmth that went through him was like that of polarization of his vision.” (when Mattie grabbed ahold of Ethan.)- Ethan Frome. Thats how perspective plays a role in proving that you need to have internal joy, and not just external factors to be happy.
Once you have a good perspective on life, you will start to see the better side of situations. Seeing the good in things may be tough, but once achieved, happiness will not be far off. Joy is easiest found when we have both internal and external factors. Alongside joy from within, external factors help complete fulfillment inside us. Ethan cannot seem to find any sense of joy within himself, leaving him searching for happiness through external factors. This makes his life seem dull, and pointless in his eyes. Even just explaining his life, you can tell he can’t see any good in it, “ Left alone, after his father’s accident, to carry the burden of the farm and the mill.”- Ethan Frome. He relies on this one source of external factors, that he has no control over. This makes Ethan a wreck when it comes to emotions. Since he cannot stabilize his internal joy, he focuses all his happiness on Mattie. One example of this is when Zeena was in the city to be seen by a doctor, and Ethan had to leave Mattie by herself in the house for a little while. While gone, he kept worrying about people visiting Mattie, including a guy that was flirting with her earlier. But once he comes home and finds it was only Jotham Powell, (a hired worker,) that visited Mattie that evening, “The blackness lifted and light flooded Ethans brain.”- Ethan Frome. If something does not turn out to plan, since he relies on external things, his happiness is immediately gone. Sometimes things do work out for him though, “Mattie was there alone, just has he had pictured her.”- Ethan Frome. This is pure luck on his part, because things could have just as easily turned out ‘not how he had pictured’. This is why Ethan cannot find a stable source of happiness throughout the book, and could never seem to see the good in situations.
With external factors, people cannot just be happy or content. Nothing could measure and sustain the almost of time vs. happiness that external factors bring. These factors bring up a false sense of short term happiness, until we want something bigger and better. This is shown multiple times within Ethan Frome. First, he is just ‘happy’ watching her do her work, then he wants to be everywhere with her. Then he wants to do everything together. All well eluting Zenna from his attraction to Mattie. Since Ethan cannot find joy from within, he always wants more out of his relationship with Mattie. “The truth is that you make yourself happy.”- ‘Happiness in relationships’. So Ethans relations with Mattie would not work out, even without the complication of Zenna, because Ethan would always expect more happiness out of the relationship, because he lacks it internally. Relying on Mattie for happiness is risky, since Ethan is dependent on her for happiness, he is terrified of the fact that she might leave someday, “ In reality there isn’t pain in being alone, but there is a belief that it is painful.” – ‘Happiness in relationships’.He feels if she leaves then he will be lost. “He was to be a prisoner for life, and now his one ray of light was to be extinguished.” – Ethan Frome. Thats why external factors alone cannot succeed on making a person fully happy.
These reasons are just a few examples from the book Ethan Frome, and the article ‘happiness in relationships,’ that show that happiness comes from both internal and external factors. In relation to the book, the article only contributes to the fact that Ethans unhappiness in life is caused by his reliance on external factors in his relationships to try to fulfill his life. This method does not work out, and in the end, Ethan lives out his life unsatisfied, and incomplete. Thats why you need to have joy from within in order to be happy and content.