Essay 1 – Caden, Grade 5
Everyone has their own definition of happiness and tries to achieve happiness in a different way. In Leo Tolstoy’s “The Two Brothers,” the older brother finds his happiness in living a peaceful life in a village unlike his brother, who trusts the inscription on a rock and accepts a challenge to become a king. In the sixth year of his kingdom, the younger brother is defeated by another king. Later after becoming a wanderer, the younger brother finds out that his brother has lived in a village all this time. Based on his words, actions, and thoughts, the older brother comes across as cautious, conservative, and content.
The older brother comes across as cautious, which prevents him from easily trusting whatever he sees. The older brother is very cautious because he thinks about everything that could go wrong and perhaps lead them to die. For example, when he replies to the younger brother, he says, “no one can know whether what is written on this stone is the truth –perhaps it was written in jest.” This shows he is cautious because he is thinking that what is written on the rock is not real. He is very careful about what he does and thinks of everything before he does it. He decides to not go because there are too many things that could go wrong. The older brother is cautious.
Apart from being cautious, the older brother is conservative so he does not like radical changes. After the younger brother becomes a wanderer, the narrator says, “The elder brother was living in a village and had grown neither rich nor poor.” The older brother is conservative because he says that he has not grown rich or poor. Even after knowing his brother became a king, he still does not regret anything he has done. He does not become jealous of his brother and is happy with how he has lived his life, growing up neither rich nor poor. Not wanting to grow rich or poor proves that the older brother is conservative.
The older brother is described as content, a quality that leads him to be happy with what he has. During the conversation between the younger and older brother, the older brother says, “I was right. Here I have lived quietly and well.” and later says he likes his surroundings and does not regret his decision. This means he likes having peaceful surroundings and not troubled surrounding. He likes being a normal person with no ups and downs. Having a peaceful life and not regretting it shows that the older brother is very content.
The older brother has his own definition of happiness living peacefully and not growing rich or poor. The three traits that help him reach his happiness are caution, conservatism, and contentedness. At the end of the day, people should just follow their own happiness and not be embarrassed about it.
Essay 2 – Danny, grade 5
The Way to Happiness
Everybody has a different definition of happiness and will have different ways to get it. The older brother is cautious and thinks about what he is doing; he is also content and does not have to go through what his younger brother decides to. Finally, the older brother is conservative because he does not want his life to change and lives normally and peacefully.
The older brother is cautious and thinks about the consequences. In the story, the older brother thinks about his decisions before he makes them. In the conversation between the older brother and the younger brother, the older brother says, “It may be that the happiness awaiting us there is not at all the sort of happiness we would want.” The older brother makes sure that he does not waste any of his time going there and getting nothing that he wants. When his younger brother decides to go, he says, “no one can know whether what is written on this stone is the truth.” The brother is cautious because he has to know that the stone speaks the truth and is not lying to him. The older brother is cautious and does not trust everything he sees.
Apart from being cautious, the older brother is also content. In the story, the older brother lives happily without dealing with what the younger brother has to do. When the other king conquers the younger brother’s land, leaving him a wanderer, the elder brother says to him, “I was right. Here I have lived quietly and well, while you, though you may have been a king, have seen a great deal of trouble.” While the younger brother is a king, the older one lives in the village peacefully by himself without having to fight another king and help the people of his village. The older brother has no regrets about his decision on staying and living in the village peacefully. The older brother is content and lives happily and peacefully in the village.
The older brother is also conservative because he does not want any change. The story says that the older brother “was living in a village and had grown neither rich nor poor.” The elder brother does not regret his choice, nor is he jealous of the younger brother’s wealth and experience. While he has no memories at all because he did not do much, he is satisfied. The older brother is conservative because he lived in a peaceful village like an average person, not like his younger brother living very rich but losing it all to another king.
Therefore, the older brother does not want to change his life and does not do things without thinking. The older brother is content and lives happily and peacefully; he is cautious of what he does and he is conservative and does not want his life to change. Everybody has different definitions of happiness.