• Tom Boyd

The Five Boons of Life

Mark Twain (1835-1910) in his last years was said to be bitter and disillusioned about living and all aspects of life. His novella, The Mysterious Stranger, (released after his death per his request) and his short story, The Five Boons of Life, are two examples of his thoughts and attitude as he aged, went bankrupt, and suffered the deaths of his wife and three of his four children. 

What I find also interesting about his short story is the different views of it that you can have. 

The pessimist:

“The meaning of the story is remarkably bleak. The fairy presents the youth with five gifts throughout life. He chooses Pleasure, Love, Fame, and Wealth, only to learn the folly of each. The gift not chosen is Death. Twain implies that life is so inherently unhappy as to make an early death the best possible outcome”.

The optimist:  

“The Five Boons of Life is an interesting perspective on the importance of life and priorities. The story signifies the importance of wise choices, and the importance of not squandering your life away. Twain reaches readers in a universal resource of a story, and in a compelling tale persuades readers to live their life out to the fullest.”

Take a listen or read the story, either will take less than five minutes. What view of the story do you have? Is it your view of life?




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