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Essay In Response To Zora Neale Hurston'S "The Gilded Six-Bits"

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"The Gilded Six-Bits" is a story about a life of married couple, Missy May and Joe. They lived a meager life by some standards because they did not have extravagant material things, but by other standards they were rich. They were rich in love. In the story the Joe and Missy May marvel at the fact that Otis Slemmons was wealthy enough to have a five-dollar gold piece for a stick-pin, a ten-dollar gold piece on his watch, and a mouth full of gold teeth. Close to the end of the story the reader finds out that Slemmons was a phony and the charm on his watch that he tried to pass off as a ten-dollar piece was actually a gold plated half dollar. This example of the Missy May and Joe envying Slemmons' possessions brings light to a deeper issue, which is the illusion that people create surrounding the attainment of material possessions.

The cashier at the gas station admires the business man that comes in everyday in his crisp suit, as the janitor of a building admires that famous actress on TV. We are all trying to attain that next material thing; whether it is job or a new set of rims on our car we think things will bring us happiness. We let others put a value to the definition of success, and then we run after that. What we don't realize is that even if we did attain what they define as success, once we attained it they would push the bar up and find something new that would the new measure of success. It is like the saying goes we are always trying to "keep up with the Jones'".

We need to recognize that we define what success is to us. Whether we measure success to be the attainment of a house for our family or finding true love as shown in "The Gilded Six-Bits", we set the bar. There is no reason to continually be discontented always longing for that next material thing that you think will bring you success and ultimately happiness. Realize the value in the things that we have because the



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