The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby Theme of Dissatisfaction
You have a handsome, wealthy husband; a string of polo ponies; and a closetful of really nice white dresses. What more could you want? Apparently, a lot. None of the characters in The Great Gatsby are happy: they're dissatisfied with marriage, with love, with life, and most of all with themselves. But they're not satisfied with just being dissatisfied. Instead, they wreak havoc trying to make themselves happy. Best case scenario? They end up fleeing back East. Worst case? They end up dead.
Questions About Dissatisfaction
- How does Jordan's "carelessness" indicate dissatisfaction? Why is wealthy society so careless?
- Which characters are dissatisfied, and what would actually make them happy? Do they even know what they want?
- Nick reveals that James Gatz created Jay Gatsby "from the Platonic conception of himself." What was it that dissatisfied James such that he had to create a new persona? Did this new persona solve his problems?
Chew on This
Although the wealthy characters in The Great Gatsby appear to have it all, not a single one of them seems happy.
According to The Great Gatsby, wealth doesn't satisfy your desires; it just gives you an avenue for always craving more.