Study Guide

Man Listening to Disc Happiness

By Billy Collins

Happiness

Don't we all want to know what the secret to happiness is? Maybe it's having lots of money, or having lots of kids, or getting to do a job we love. But maybe happiness is something that we can also find in the little things in our everyday lives. This is what Collins' poem suggests, anyway. The speaker of "Man Listening to Disc" is one happy guy. And he's happy for a simple reason: he's listening to some good music. This poem reminds us that we can find happiness not only through winning the lottery or having a girlfriend as hot as Angelina Jolie. We can also find happiness just by enjoying the simple things, like good music.

Questions About Happiness

  1. What's the relationship between music and happiness in this poem?
  2. In what ways does the poem suggest that being happy is about enjoying the present moment?
  3. What's the relationship between gratitude and happiness? What's the speaker grateful for?

Chew on This

This poem demonstrates that happiness is a state of mind. We are in control of our own happiness—our speaker is proof.

Our speaker's imagination is what really makes him happy. The music just activates it.

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