Often, people become disillusioned when contrasting lifestyles appear simultaneously. They become confused with their real life and the one they covet. In The Great Gatsby, Tom and Daisy are residents of East Egg and belong to a family history of aristocratic wealth. On the other hand, Myrtle, a mistress of Tom, comes from a lower class and desperately struggles to appear wealthy. In The Great Gatsby, Frances Scott Fitzgerald portrays two predominant classes: the rich and the poor, in contrasting manners to show that although the two classes differ in many aspects, the two are comparably disillusioned.
Living in East Egg, a community, where residents inherit their wealth, Tom and Daisy live a comfortable life without the financial worries. However, with his excessive wealth, Tom is still unsatisfied with his life and openly shows his affections for his mistress, Myrtle. Despite the indisputable fact that Tom is cheating on his wife no one, including Daisy, does anything about it. Believing that ?the best thing a girl can be in this world [is] a beautiful little fool?, Daisy wishes her daughter to grow up oblivious to the existence of cheating husbands (17). Thus, Daisy is disillusioned, only wanting to stay with Tom because she is protected with a screen of wealth. As long as Daisy is rich, she is able to put up with Tom?s infidelity. This is the reason she wants her daughter to be a ?fool?, because a fool will not accept reality and will stay happy as long as money is there for them. Both Tom and Daisy cannot stand their lives, but only Tom desires change; Daisy, unfortunately, is left in disillusionment.
Contrastingly, Myrtle is not person of an elegant lifestyle, but because she Tom?s mistress, she attempts to fit in with the elite. Constantly trying to appear wealthy, Myrtle not only changes her outfit multiple times throughout the day, but she also strives to decorate her apartment luxuriously. But, conspicuously noticeable, the ?tapes-tried furniture [are] entirely too large to fit [in the apartment]? (29). This confirms Myrtle?s unhappiness with reality and her ultimate goal of disguising herself as a wealthy individual around Tom. Myrtle also buys copies of magazines that rich people read such as ?Town Tattle? and ?Simon Called Peter?, just to make herself seem as if she belongs to the upper-class (29). At one point, while Myrtle is walking towards the kitchen, she dramatically ?flounced over to the dog, kissed it with ecstasy, and swept into the kitchen, implying that a dozen chefs awaited her orders there? (32). Her overly emphasis on simple daily actions capture the importance of appearing rich to Myrtle. This shows how essential it is for Myrtle to appear rich. She buys magazines that rich people buy, she fills her apartment full of furniture that is too large to fit, and she acts like she is a person of meaning. It is clear that Myrtle is unsatisfied with her life and therefore disillusioned between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor.
Even though The Great Gatsby includes various social classes, the underlying similarity between them is easily characterized as disillusionment. Daisy and Myrtle are both extremely well aware of their current lifestyles, yet because of their misperceptions, the two characters are ultimately unable to face reality and hence, continue to live a life of disillusionment.