Learning English through movies – The Pursuit of Happyness

First of all you may be surprised to see that the title of this film is misspelled (or misspelt)- we don’t write happiness with a Y. There are several explanations for this . One explanation is that the misspelled phrase is actually taken from an essay written in 1776 that argued that whites and blacks were created equal. If you watch the movie you will see the scene in which Will Smith drops his son off at school and we see grafitti on the wall with the word « Happyness ». He tries to correct it but no one pays any attention to him. Later he understands that the spelling of « happiness » does not matter (it isn’t important) What matters is the spirit, the essence of « happyness ». This is the same for when you speak English and you make grammatical mistakes. Little mistakes aren’t important. What is important is getting your message across and making yourself understood!

The pursuit of Happyness is the story of the personal struggle (a fight or a situation in which you try very hard to do something difficult) of a man who evolved from a homeless father to a successful businessman who founded his own brokerage firm Gardner Rich & Co.

During one of the movie’s most touching scenes, Gardner is seen telling his son. 

“Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves; they want to tell you, you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.”

We could say that the entire story of the movie is weaved (like material which is woven) around these few lines. Despite facing setback after setback, Gardner persists and never gives up. At the lowest point of his life, his wife abandons him and his young son. Unable to pay rent he is first kicked out of his house, then out of a motel and is forced to live in shelters. He gets arrested for not being able to pay a parking fine on the eve of his interview at Dean Witter, a job that he sees as the door to a better future. 

The job interview after a night in prison

But this doesn’t stop him. Every time one of the products he sells is stolen, he is determined to retrieve it. He relentlessly follows an executive at Dean Witter and manages to impress him enough to get his name recommended for an interview. 

Going to the match

Even when, on his first day on the job, he gets hit by a car and loses his shoe in the street, he still proceeds to get to work on time.

Thes message given in the film is that what is the most important thing in life in is to pursue what make you happy. 

For Chris Gardner, his happiness was to offer a better life to his son. He finally got there. His priority was making decisions that made him and his son happy.

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