The Island — Happiness

In class, we have been reading the picture story book, ‘The Island’ by John Heffernan and Peter Sheehan.

Throughout our discussions, we have identified a number of big ideas including:

  • Respect
  • Appreciation and not taking things for granted
  • Freedom
  • Loneliness and Friendship
  • Choices and Making Decisions
  • Selfishness and Greed
  • Happiness

Your task:

  1. Choose one of the big ideas above
  2. Using your chosen big idea, create a big idea question.
  3. Write a paragraph explaining your opinion about your big idea question. Make sure you use the philosophy tools of ‘Justify’, ‘Reason’, ‘Because’ and ‘Example’.
  4. If time, reply to somebody else’s post about their big idea question. Make sure you use the philosophy tools listed above as well as ‘Agree/Disagree’.


  1. Hello world
    In Philosophy we are reading a picture story book called The Island. We are writing down our ideas and questions about the book.
    The big idea that I choose is Freedom.

    My question is what is Freedom?
    I think Freedom is the right to express your own opinion, do whatever you want and speak your mind. Freedom is important because everyone has the right to do the things above becasue we are all human and we all have different opinions and beliefs.

    For example, in the book, the creature was trapped forced to live in a swimming pool just to give the tribe happiness, so therefore it did not have freedom. Later on, the blind urchan freed creature and gave it its freedom back in its natural habitat, the ocean.

    I hope you agree with me on the subject of freedom and that you enjoyed reading my blog post.
    From MK

  2. Hello 5ES,

    I chose the main idea of ‘freedom’ to talk about. My big idea question is, why don’t people give others freedom?

    In my opinion, people don’t give each other freedom because others believe different things to them and they want others to think the way that they are thinking. For example in some countries people get put into jail for being a certain religion or for them believing different things. This should NOT be allowed as people should be able to think freely for themselves and not be forced to think something that they don’t really believe. If we keep doing this then people will soon not be thinking freely for themselves, and if someone did, they would be severely punished or put into jail. We should give others freedom or there will be consequences. In conclusion, I think that everyone deserves to think for themselves and not be forced to believe something that they don’t really believe.

    What do you think about my question?


    1. Hello K.A
      I am really interested in your opinion of freedom and I would like to answer the question you have asked, ‘Why don’t people give other people freedom?’
      I think some people don’t give others freedom because they want all the freedom for themselves and won’t bother helping others to have freedom. I also think that that type of person would be greedy and part of a bad society.

      Thank you for reading my comment and I hope I answered your question.

  3. What is happiness?
    Happiness is a feeling that is triggered by something that you enjoy. For example you’re eating a food that you really enjoy and therefore happiness is triggered. Happiness makes a person feel good about them which is a good thing. Without happiness what would the world be like?
    Happiness has its downsides as well. An example of negative happiness, you won a race and you felt good about yourself but then you started to brag about it and all your friends got annoyed at you and then you got upset which stopped the good feeling of happiness.
    Thanks for reading my blog.

    1. Hello A.J
      I agree with how you have said happiness can be triggered by certain thoughts or objects. I also really like how you explained how happiness can have negative downsides as well and how it can be short term or long term.

      Thank you for reading my comment,

    2. Hello AJ,
      I agree with your point about what happiness is. I am build on your idea about what happiness is. Happiness is a positive feeling. People can get happiness from physical or mental things like a thought or a TV show that you really enjoy watching.

      I also agree with your view of negative happiness and am also going to give another example. You got full marks in a test and beat everyone in your class. You are really happy but you start to brag and all of your friends think of you as smug and annoying and suddenly, you don’t feel so happy anymore.

      Thanks for reading my reply.

  4. Can happiness be spread?

    Yes. If you think of happiness as a give-and-take sort of thing, you could think about it as a bank loan. You borrow some of the bank’s money to buy a house, car etc. and eventually return the money. With a bank loan, if you don’t return the money, it can be considered stealing; same with happiness – you can steal or take happiness.
    If you think of happiness as contagious – as in you can ‘catch’ it – and it spreads through the air and jumping from person to person, making everyone in its path happy. It could keep going until someone who is not in a good mood disrupts the flow of happiness and kind of ‘steals’ it or takes it away from everyone else.
    If you think about happiness in these two ways, you can sort of picture it as some energy, light or sound waves. They can pass through the air bouncing off objects and spreading through the air, until something like water. So yes, happiness can be spread.

  5. What does it mean to be free?

    I think that being free is when no-one is telling you what to do and you can make your own decisions. When someone is free they are not in slavery and they have their own rights. They have their own opinions and can say what they want to say. An example of freedom is when Nelson Mandela wanted everyone to be treated equally and for people to be free. To be free is to do what you want to do and not let anyone get in your way. Everyone starts with a chance to be free.


  6. Does everyone deserve happiness?
    In my opinion I think everyone does deserve happiness but they should do something good for it. For example, you can’t just buy happiness. Basically happiness is your reward if you do something good, but sometimes people get rewarded for doing something bad. For example, if someone stole somebody else’s pet that would make them happy but the pet’s owner would be really upset. So they would basically be thinking about themselves and in the book the tribe trapped the creature for their own happiness. So the people who have done good things should deserve happiness and the people who do bad things shouldn’t deserve happiness.


    Lately we have been focussing on the picture story book ‘The Island’. We have been writing down lots of notes about the book. We also had to choose a topic and make up a question for it.

    What is freedom?

    I believe that freedom is when someone has the right to do what they choose to. Freedom is really important in a person because freedom gives someone the self-esteem to speak their mind and be themselves. On the other hand, if someone has no freedom at all they will lose all of their confidence and let people boss them around all the time.

    If people have too much freedom things can get way out of hand. Sometimes people have no order and do things that are illegal, e.g. Justin Bieber thinks that because he is a celebrity he can do whatever he wants. He is quite wrong there.

    Regards I.G

  8. Hello world,

    What is Happiness? Happiness is a feeling that you get inside of your body like an emotion. Happiness can be harmful for you. For example, good sport stars that are happy when they are playing or doing what they do but if they hurt themselves like they break a bone or they go into a coma then they would live with that for the rest of their life or they would have to go through surgery or live with a person to look after them. Happiness is also like a disease because you can gain it and you can lose it. You can also steal happiness. For example, a bank can be like stealing happiness because the bank teller has the happiness or money and then you take the money from them or the happiness but you don’t give it back. If you have happiness you should always hold onto it because if you don’t. Then your life would be miserable like the Grinch from the Grinch who stole Christmas.
    Thank you for reading my comment.

    From M.P

  9. What is Freedom?
    Hello members of 5ES,
    I think freedom is when no one is controlling you, you have your own rights and you can express your opinion. I also think you can do whatever you want (that is not illegal). Freedom is when you have your rights because your rights make you and let you be free.
    An example of a country that is free is Australia because we have all of the human rights. We have the right to have privacy, everyone has a right to believe in their own religion, we can vote and much more. There is no slavery in Australia and everybody is free to what they want to do.
    I think there is a boundary of how free you can be, eg: you cannot have everything you want or never have conflict but those things are unfair, unavoidable and nearly impossible.

  10. Hello 5ES,

    This week in Philosophy, we were reading the book: ‘The Island’ by John Heffernan and Peter Sheehan. We had to choose a big idea and turn it into a big idea question. My question is about ‘Choices and Making Decisions’ and my question is:
    What is a choice?

    I believe that a choice is something that someone chooses to do. For example, someone has two paths to choose from. They can choose one path or the other. This is a choice. To decide between two or more possibilities and to only choose one of them. Another example is a person can choose from a vanilla ice-cream or a chocolate ice-cream. That person can only choose one of them. He/she has to make a choice.

    In the story, the tribe had a choice about whether to capture the creature for their happiness or to leave it alone in hope that it would return every day to make them happy. Their choice was to capture the creature as they believed that one day, the creature would leave the island and never return to give them the happiness that they believed they had earned and was not just a plain, simple coincidence.

    What is your opinion?


  11. Dear world,

    I chose the topic happiness because I thought happiness is an important thing in life nd I related that question to my question ‘what would we be without happiness?’.

    What would we be without happiness?

    If we didn’t have happiness in life, life would be like hell. Life would be miserable, sad, tiring and no one would be smiling.

    But we do have happiness and we do have freedom. That’s why it’s so important. If we didn’t have happiness life would be like a nightmare. But life is important and we need to spend it wisely and do what we want until we have had enough.

    You should always be happy about everything even if you come last in a race or you get bullied or if you get a low score at school just get up, get along with it and try your best because happiness is the key in life.
    People need happiness to live, to smile to, be happy.

    Thank you for reading my blog


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