“We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, …” (The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson)
Obviously Chris Gardner, the main character in the movie entitled “The Pursuit of Happyness”, a film by Gabriele Muccino was really obsessed by what Jefferson wrote—that all men are endowed the right to pursue happiness. The movie inspired by a true story has Will Smith as Chris Gardner, Thandie Newton as Linda, and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith as Christopher, their son.
When watching the movie, I was touched by the big belief of Gardner that he was really endowed that right. Everybody deserves to be happy and everybody has their own way to pursue their happiness, no matter their color, the gender, the ethnic group, the religion, etc. Therefore, everybody must strive to reach it.
Linda also believes in it. When she thinks that her husband cannot make her happy in their marriage, she has her own way to pursue her own happiness—by leaving her husband whom she thinks impotent to look for money. She is tired of being poor, having to work hard—double shift—to pay the bills while in the beginning of their marriage, she is promised happiness by her husband; happiness that she thinks without financial constraint, without her having to work double shift.
When leaving her husband, she takes Christopher with her. In America, children under 18 years old are to follow the mother when the parents are separated or divorced. However, when the following morning Chris takes Christopher from the day care, Linda doesn’t complain a lot. She does understand that Chris is a good father, only he is not really good in looking for money. That’s why when she leaves for New York to start a new life—her sister’s boyfriend opens a restaurant, Linda expects a better future there—she doesn’t mind leaving Christopher with his dad although she feels very unhappy.
Big determination of Chris to pursue his happiness—always remember what Jefferson writes in the Declaration of Independence—makes Chris do his best to reach his dream, not only for himself of course, but the more important thing is his only son. This is somewhat the reflection of his own life where he met his father for the first time when he was 28 years old. He feels very unhappy for that, and this makes him determined that if he has children, his children would know who their father is.
The story happened during the last two decades of the twentieth century. I am wondering whether Chris would get that position in the brokerage firm of Dean Witter—that miraculously changed his life—if the story had happened when Jim Crow Law still haunted America?
PT56 21.28 220807