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Inevitable Dissatisfaction

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The characters of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby experience dissatisfaction throughout their lives and attempt achieve a better state through their actions. Jay Gatsby embodies the idea of wanting more in life, abandoning his old life and changing his name, inventing a new person that “sprang from his Platonic conception of himself” (Fitzgerald 98). His new persona is successful, however Gatsby continues to feel incomplete without a partner. Myrtle Wilson is unhappy with her life in the Valley of Ashes, so she seeks a better life through her affairs with Tom Buchanan. Daisy is likewise disappointed in her marriage; she cannot divorce Tom, whom she is aware is having an affair, and has one herself. Dissatisfaction heavily impacts the actions people take to improve their lives. All people will inevitably reach a state of dissatisfaction and of desire for a better life, and the characters of The Great Gatsby change their lives as a result of being unhappy with what they have.

Gatsby’s life is a vivid display of dissatisfaction and he takes extreme measures to create a life that he is happy with. In his earlier years, Gatsby lived on a North Dakota farm before deciding that he wanted to create a better life; he changed his name from Jimmy Gatz to Jay Gatsby and moved to New York, where he believed he could create a wealthy life (98). Gatsby is successful in achieving his goal of wealth, albeit through illegal bootlegging, yet he still feels he is not accomplished without Daisy. Gatsby is confident that he can get Daisy to love him again, however he is unhappy with the fact that she was ever married to Tom. He want’s Daisy to renounce her marriage to Tom, to tell him “I never love you”, essentially erasing the past four years of her l...

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...ued to want more in it, to the point where it became impossible to achieve any more. Myrtle had a similar situation, in which her attempts to climb the social ladder were limited by Tom’s refusal to divorce Daisy, therefore leaving her where she is unless she finds a different way up. Daisy simply wants to get out of her marriage, but she is stopped from doing so by Tom’s ego and Gatsby’s demands. These characters have clear issues in their lives that they understandably want to change, however most efforts in doing so are ultimately unsuccessful. All people who feel dissatisfaction in any way are undoubtedly limited by several factors, but persistence and effort can allow them to achieve all that they desire; wanting more is not ambitious, it is a source of drive and motivation.

Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1925. Print.
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