“Joy” by Zadie Smith
“The Limits of Friendship” by Maria Konnikova
In “Joy,” Zadie Smith argues that although joy “has very little real pleasure in it,” it imbues our
lives with meaning. In all of her examples of joy – motherhood, pet ownership, love, her
experience at the nightclub – this meaning is underpinned by a state of interconnectedness.
When she is a mother she loves her child, and when she is in the nightclub, she writes that she
“[is] joy, or some small piece of joy, with all these other hundreds of people who [are] also a part
of joy.” Maria Konnikova also writes about interconnectedness, asserting that social ties are part
of our biology. She posits that these ties are learned though, and that too much time spent on
social media networks and away from others could weaken these ties, just as emphasizing
“interaction and touch” could strengthen them.
How can the pursuit of joy strengthen our social bonds? (use evidence, quotes, and examples from reading to prove the point made)