Peace of Mind

The Cost of Pursuing a Dream


In "Serving in Florida", Barbara Ehrenreich's extremely limited budget prevents her from even finding a proper home to live in.

"I can afford to spend $500 on rent or maybe, with severe economies, $600 and still have $400 or $500 left over for food and gas. In the Key West area, this pretty much confines me to flophouses and trailer homes -- like the one...that has no air-conditioning, no screens, no fans, no television...The big problem with this place, though, is the rent, which at $675 a month is well beyond my reach" (Ehrenreich 2)

Ehrenreich, who cannot even make enough money to give herself proper shelter, was surely not a happy person at the time, which is seen again and again as she struggles to find a job, and make receive enough wages to support herself throughout "Serving in Florida".

In the Great Gatsby, Gatsby is also unhappy as he is kept away from peace of mind due to his obsession with his great love. His struggle to chase after Daisy and get her to love him again under any circumstance, is the cause of Gatsby's problem, the effect being him losing his peace of mind, and with it, his life. As Gatsby chases his dream, he slowly becomes more and more restless, desperate even, to regain what he is convinced is the only woman who can ever love him so much. When, in reality, Daisy may have not even loved Gatsby even half as much as he loved her. Therefore, Gatsby pays the price of his peace of mind by chasing after his dream of being with the woman he loves.

Further, in the book, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, Beatty says to Montag, that "firemen are custodians of peace of mind" (Bradbury 56). In this novel, firefights do not put out fires, they create them to burn books. Beatty, the captain of the firefighter department, states that they are 'custodians of the mind' because books can make readers think, which can sometimes make them upset, which takes away their peace of mind. Consequentially, the firefighters destroy books to keep people away from the settlement they may get from reading books. However, there are many people who grow up in comparatively radical households, who know more about books than others around them, and are not sucked into the world of modified television and mental traps. They dream of reading books and learning new things and traveling to new places, and as a result, they lose their peace of mind from chasing these dreams.

Burden of Lying

Lack of peace of mind can stem from struggling to conceal your lies. In the Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan struggles to hide his affair with Mrytle. Daisy struggles to hide her love for Gatsby while married to Tom (Fitzgerald 152).

In Inside Job, it is clearly seen on the face of unethical economists who, upon confrontation, go into panic and ask to be left alone, deny their mistakes, or even insult the questioner in turn.


Regrets can often lead to unhappiness and therefore a lack of peace of mind. In "In Goldman, Sachs We Trust", Galbraith points out how the economists made many mistakes that affected the entire nation, and later pay the price for their mistakes (Galbraith 1-5).

In the Great Gatsby, Gastby, Daisy, and Tom all suffer for their mistakes, and end up later regretting it, Gatsby for blindly trying to reestablish a ruined relationship, Daisy for her ignorance, and Tom for also ruining his relationships.

Works Cited

Galbraith, John Kenneth. "The Great Crash, 1929." John Kenneth Galbraith: The affluent society and other writings, 1952-1967: American capitalism, The Great Crash, 1929, The affluent society, The new industrial state. New York, NY: Library of America, 2010. 234-38. Print.

Bradbury, Ray. "The Hearth and the Salamander." Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. 56. Print.

Photos 2013. The Great Gatsby: A glitzy spectacular that misses the point. The Telegraph. Web. 4 Jan 2014.

Tabor, Martha. Poverty in America. 2010. Washington, D.C.. American Narrative. Web. 4 Jan 2014.

SEIU, via Creative Commons. Oakland’s rate swap deal plagued by scandal. Goldman Sachs, D.C.. Oakland Local. Web. 5 Jan. 2014.