Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Chapter 9-10 Question

On page 113 Dorian tells Basil, "And you are awfully unjust, Basil. You come down here to console me. That is charming of you. You find me consoled, and you are furious." Don't we all want what we do not have or can not have? Once we get what we do not have, we are still not satisfied. What are some examples from the book or from your own lives that portray this concept? Why is it that we want more and are not satisfied once we recieve these once desired things?

27 Comments:

Blogger Amy K said...

I agree that people seem to always want what they can't have and the grass always looks greener on the other side. This concept is especially significant to our society today. The latest invention or edition of "such and such" is always coming out and everyone HAS to have the newest thing. The NEED for the things people don't already possess is neverending. Once you get something, you automatically move on to the next thing you want. I think our culture is really bad about that and I am definitely guilty of it. I think this applies to Dorian Gray because he's never satisfied with the beauty in his life. Now that Sibyl is dead, he needs to move on and pursue the next beautiful thing to fill that void he has. His search for beauty will continue and he won't ever be satisfied.

February 21, 2007 9:50 PM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I think that the one character that seems to be continually disappointed or let down is Basil. He seems to know exactly what he wants with every situation and then is let down, mainly by Dorian it seems. Take for instance the very beginning of the book he thinks that everything between him and Dorian can be great. Then through a series of events he finds that Dorian doesn’t want to return the fondness that Basil has shown to him and Basil is let down. Another example of this is the time that Basil and Dorian were supposed to meet at Basil’s house and Dorian let Basil’s hopes down again and decided to go out with Lord Henry instead. I think Basil is a perfect example of someone who knows what he wants but never seems to be able to attain it.

February 22, 2007 10:05 AM  
Blogger Marie P said...

There is a common theme of the characters not having what they want in the novel. It all has to do with selfish ambition and the mere pride of wanting something that no one else does. Not only do the characters desire what they do not have, they also depend on the things that they do not have.
"…none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves"(Chapter 1).
“They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one’s self”(Chapter 2).
“There are many things we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up” (Chapter 4).
“It is only the sacred things that are worth touching”(Chapter 4).
“The real drawback to marriage is that it makes one selfish. And unselfish people are colourless”(Chapter 6).
“To be good is to be in harmony with one’s self”(Chapter 6).
“…we live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities”(Chapter 8).
The only quote so far in the book that disagrees with this concept is when Lord Henry says, “People are very fond of giving away what they need most themselves. It is what I call the depth of generosity”(Chapter 4). But we have to keep in mind that Lord Henry often times tells lies about himself because he tries to portray something he is not.

February 22, 2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Kurt W. said...

This theme is definitely common in everyday life. People constantly strive to have what they don't have. Thou shalt not covet is one of the Ten Commandments, after all. It is interesting in our culture of instant gratification that someone can still want what they don't have. I think that Dorian is definitely guilty of this mindset. Like Amy said before me, Dorian showed no remorse for Sybil, he just moved on to the next new pursuit. I think that Dorian will never stop thinking this way and it will be one factor that leads to his downfall.

February 22, 2007 2:56 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I agree that humans have to have what they don't, I see it all the time, and I think the best example is little kids. I have younger siblings, and I have seen them fight over toys because one started playing with it, and the other one decided that they wanted to play with it. Yet when the one finally does get it, they no longer want to play with it.
It is interesting as to why people act this way. I think it is because there is something appealing in the "chase," more appealing than whatever is being chased. So when it is all over, people are no longer excited or interested in what they were trying to obtain. It could also be that people are just greedy, and once they obtain what they wanted they move on to the next thing that they want, and pursue that with a new interest.

February 22, 2007 3:24 PM  
Blogger Haley C said...

I think that people want what they can't ave simply because they can't have it. In our society today material things show to others how wealthy one is. So when they finally get what they wanted in the first place, it's out of date. Producers are coming out with new and improved things everyday so even though people want the best, they will never have the best because something bigger and better will be coming out. i also agree with Scott and how Dorian lets Bail down all quite a bit. I think that Amy and Jurt also make good points. Dorians downfall is caused by his lack of caring. When Sybil died, he didn't really care as much as someone else would he just oved on like nothing happened.

February 22, 2007 3:41 PM  
Blogger KatieA said...

This statement is completly true and the first thing that came to my mine was one of my girlfriends. She would try so hard to get a certain guy, even if they were out of her reach and with her determination the boy would always come around. But as soon as he liked her back she didnt like him anymore. So in cases like this I would have to say that people try to get things they want because they want to see if they can do it, they like the challenge and once he challenge is over they are not satisfied anymore.

February 22, 2007 4:26 PM  
Blogger alexmu said...

I agree that people are always wanting more. One thing that comes to mind is money. People are always trying to make money, and when they get it, its not like they just stop what they're doing and are satisfied, they keep doing what they are doing because they want more. I agree with Amy. Dorian's downfall is mainly because he refuses to be satisfied with what he has in his life, he wants more. Although he wants more, because of Lord Henry's influence on him, Dorian doesnt seem to care about much and that could lead to his downfall.

February 22, 2007 4:54 PM  
Blogger jessg said...

I think it is human nature to never be fully satisfied. Once we've obtained what we thought was un-obtainable, we figure that if we were able to get that far, why not try to go further. I think it is human nature to compete with one another, which makes us continuely wanting to better ourselves in order to one up the competition. We continue to push to strive further and farther beyond what we thought was originally possible. For some, this equals greatness, and for others it results in their failure.

February 22, 2007 6:04 PM  
Blogger Nick W said...

People want more because no matter what people say about themselves everyone on earth has a greedy and selfish side. Everyone wants to live better off. There is always people in our lives that have more and we sit back and watch how easy their life is compared to us. we are jealous of the lives that we dont live. We are not satisfied with what we have because there is always some type of object that is better and of course we are going to want what is better. That is just the selfish and greedy side taking over.

February 22, 2007 6:09 PM  
Blogger StaceyK said...

I definitely agree with the statement we all want what we cannot have. Every day in all our lives we speak of famous people or people who have more money than us and we want to be in their shoes and living the glorious life that we think they live. I also agree that once we get what we want we are still not satisfied, I think this goes true for Dorian in the book when he got the love of Sybil, he liked it for a little while but then he was not satisified with her and it let to a bad scenario. I agree with Alex, that many things that we can not have or what we get and are still not satisfied with, involve money. I think most of all of these things have to do with selfishness and greed which everyone has.

February 22, 2007 6:30 PM  
Blogger Mark C said...

I agree with nick that everyone is selfish in one way or another. I also agree with everyone else about how in our society we always want more. I just think it is very interesting that this statement is thrown to Basil. One could argue that Basil is the least selfish character in the book. At least, he doesn't live as much for pleasure as Lord Henry or Dorian, yet Dorian says this to him. I don't know, what do you guys think?

February 22, 2007 6:37 PM  
Blogger asaetveit said...

I agree with jess... it is all in human nature we always want what we can't have, and once we have it we don't want it anymore. In my own mind I compare this to use wanting to graduate and get out of High School and head off to collage. But I feel once we are there we will want something new. to be out of collage, yet we still will not want to go into the real world we may even want to go back to where we are now. Some people learn the lesson to enjoy what you have while you have it but others do not, Dorian is one that I don't think will learn until its to late, to enjoy and charish what you have while you have it. But on the other had we do keep going and going until we ahve nothing left, for instace say there is the Johnson family and the Clark family, one gets a new car so does the other, one gets a riding lawn mower so does the other, the competition to become bigger and better(Russia, US cold war)

February 22, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger zverges said...

I agree with Scott, Marie, and Kyle. Greed, or the want for more, is ever present in our daily lives. The very society that we live in encourages and displays the act of selfishness. "If you don't have ________, then you are not good enough", or, "that family is better off than your family because they have more _________." It is ridiculous the number of times that someone is bashed for how little they have. When, in actuality, compared to other countries, we have so much and we should all be thankful for what we have and work hard for what we don't. When we get something that we did not have before I think that we are satisfied, unless other people have more of what we have, then we have to better them.

February 22, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger melissa b said...

I really like this question because we are able to use the book and our lives! Good Work!

Well first of all, I agree that when we want something and recieve it we are never satisfied. An example is the IPOD, when it first came out everyone wanted the 20 gig. But two months later everyone wanted the 30 gig. That is the same with many electronics and other appliances or goods. As Amy said the grass is always greener on the other side!
In the book I think Dorian "liked" sibyl but didn't love her. He moved on very quickly when she died. Wouldn't most people mourn over thier loved one's death? Or even a friend? I agree with Kurt, by Dorian's actions towards Sibyl and towards life, this is going to lead to his downfall. Dorian is never satisfied anymore!

February 22, 2007 7:39 PM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

I agreee with mostly what everyone has said, but I'm going to try to put things in a different persepective for all of you.

Can't this strive for something that we think is unattainable be a good thing? I think that by people wanting more we have become a more advanced society, if someone never had the ambition to carry through what they thought impossible we may not have some of the great theories and philosophers that we know today. I think that as long as someone can enjoy what they attain and appreciate what they have done to attain it, there really isn't anything wrong with wanting more. I think that people should understand what they can achieve and know their own personal limits, I think that this makes someone an all around better person.

I think that everyone has the quiality of ambition and this is why we can never be satisfied. I don't necessarily think that ambition is a bad thing either. Like I said before I think that as long as one can appreciate and be atleast a little satisfied with what they have a achieved, I think that this can be a positive thing.

By the way, Mark, I agree, I think that Basil has been the most selfless person. Sometimes I think that he is so selfless that he doesn't let his emotions get in the way of everyone elses'.

February 22, 2007 8:24 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

It is greed, pure greed. Everyone is greedy, I'll admitt I am. Once we get something we always want more, it is just the way it goes. I know when I go shopping (this sounds bad but it is a good analogy) I go for a purpose, well most of the time. I want to get something in specific that will satisfy my "cravings." I think that once I get this item I am done and do not need anything else. However, later that day I'll see someone wearing something or I'll just see something that I want. Therefore I am really never satisfied. Responding to the rest of the question where it says don't we want what we can't have, well sometimes that is true. Other times we can have it and we get it and it is simply not enough. Basil I think wants Dorian to like him in the way that he likes Dorian, but Dorian just simply does not have those feelings for him.

February 22, 2007 8:53 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

I would say that this is true for almost all of us. We all desire what we can't have and once we get it, we just want more. We are never satisfied with what we have or who we are. We always seek to get better, or climb that ladder, etc. I think the reason for this is the society we live in. We are trained to feel competitive, and trained to want everything we can get. I'm not saying that is bad, that is just the way capitalism and our society works. I also think that he reason Wilde put this idea so obviously in the book is because hedonism and aestheticism is all about the pursuit of beauty and pleasure, which was what Basil was talking about in that quote.

February 22, 2007 9:27 PM  
Blogger TaylorW said...

I beleive that people arent satisfied when they get what they want because either it didn't turn out to be exactly what they were hoping for or they just simply lose interest in the thing very quickly. This can happen to anyone with just about anything. I know that when I first got an ipod, i was extremely happy and excited to use it. It was all that I cared about until I got it. But once I had it, I realized that it wasn't perfect. It wasn't video, it was a nano. I lost interest really quickly and now I really want a better ipod.

February 22, 2007 9:57 PM  
Blogger sonnyw said...

I am in agreement with Leanne. Having desires can be a good thing--I say it only depends on the circumstance.

In a setting of abundance, strong desires lead to greed. There is little or no work done to attain what one seeks, and the gratification that comes with it is puny and short-lived (as has already been described in previous people's postings). Abundance breeds envy; most people will covet the things that their neighbors own.

In a setting of scarcity, strong desires become motivators. They keep people moving forward in hope of something better. When someone must work or compete to get something, they have more apprectiation for it when they actually obtain it. They are proud of their posession(s), especially when it is one-of-a-kind or relatively rare.

Dorian, Basil, and Lord Henry are all quite affluent. They live in abundance. This is especially true in Dorian; his beauty attracts everyone he meets, makes them bend to his subtle desires. People are expendable in Dorian's eyes. He treats them like trash because the people he casts away are replaced by new acquaintances daily: This has been the cause of his portrait's bitter and ugly decay.

February 23, 2007 1:31 AM  
Blogger chrisg said...

I think that it is partially good that we desire what we do not have. I do not know if I would call it greed, because that gives it a bad connotation, but I do agree with others statements that people have to be careful with their desires in certain situations. For example, Dorian needed to be a little more careful in wishing that he would not grow old and would not feel aging because it is causing his demise, and now he is living through sin and wrongdoing. For the most part, though, I think that this wanting more fuels people to do outstanding things. For example, many teenagers really want a car for their 16th birthday, but they know their parents will not get them one. So they get a job and start working towards paying for the car. I think that is a great thing, but like I said earlier, it has to be used only for certain circumstances.

February 23, 2007 7:38 AM  
Blogger ashleym said...

Of course we all want what we can't have because that makes the things that we do not have desireable.Once we get what had desired, we desire something new. Its never ending, this cycle. Don't you think that once you get what yo always wanted you would cherish it and not take it forgranted? But I thinkt that people take the things they recieve for granted and become greedy because they think they want or even deserve more and more and more. Isn't that a sin!??! I think so.

February 23, 2007 8:34 AM  
Blogger CaitlinO said...

I also agree that having desires can be a good thing. For example without desire to do something, we would never have goals, and we would never acheive things in our life because we have no desire to do soemthing. But having desires can be bad. It's like once you get something you desired for so long, and then you have it, you find yourself wanting something bigger, better. I think we have all been in this situation. It's a cycle.

February 23, 2007 8:50 AM  
Blogger NathanK said...

Like Caitlin said desire is what makes us strive to accomplish something and without desire nothing would ever happen. I think whenever we get something free we want more once we get that something because wanting it builds up what it will be like. We expect more and more from even though we worked so little to get it. Like sonny said, if we don’t have to work for something we become greedy. Hard work makes what we want more appreciated.

February 23, 2007 9:42 AM  
Blogger alex ma said...

I would agree with most that greed is a big part of our everyday life. In America these days, desire is what drives us; generally money. However in Buddhist tradition, desire only leads to suffering (which if you think about it is pretty true). This philosophy directly correlates to what Dorian is feeling. I think this happens because somebody will always be bigger or better than you and even when you think you catch up with them either they’re still better or somebody new is.

February 23, 2007 10:04 AM  
Blogger jeffg said...

Allow me to relate this topic to a destructive principle in our society. It is called buyer's remorse. Many people find something they want, work to get it, and then find out that it really wasn't worth all of the effort or money. Why do we do this? I think it is because of our natural mindset that we must continually improve. At times, buyer's remorse results from greed, jealousy, and envy, however, it can also come from simply wanting the best and wanting what works best for you. Some people are very technologically set and so they seek the best electronic equipment out there. This is not necessarily greedy, in fact, it is simply a consequence of being so interested in that field of knowledge and products. Now I know this seems like a stupid example and comparison but it really does apply. Concerning wanting intangible objects, some of us always want to improve. Personally, I hate being stagnant in my activities and progress. I cannot stand repetition. For me, progress and improvement are vital. Each day I get up, I have the chance to decide what to get better at, and that is a real motivator for me to continue on each day. Like Zach said, we are all naturally competitive. We always want to continually get better. Sometimes that means that we have to beat other people to the punch. But that is just part of life. We don't always get what we want, but sometimes we have to learn from our disappointments. Then, when we fail, we find out how to improve and then we are able to get better at everything and compete at a higher level.

February 23, 2007 10:15 AM  
Blogger Matt W said...

I agree with Sonny in that abundance does breed envy. In terms of not being fulfilled once desires are attained, I believe it is entirely dependant upon the underlying need, or the source of the desire, and the expectations that are created toward the thing, or person being desired. If I strongly desire food because I'm starving, and I choose to eat candy, or non-nutritious food, I will find my desires unfulfilled. I felt hunger, but didn't desire the things that would truly fulfill my desire (True sustenance). In the same way, If I am extremely hungry and I go to eat just a small hamburger, if I expect that the hamburger will completely fulfill me and I won't be hungry anymore then I will find that I am not satisfied. It will take more to satisfy me. In this way, I believe that Dorian is finding in his hedonistic life that the pursuit of only absolute beauty and pleasure will only lead him to discontentment. He finds that in life, nothing is in-fact perfect (Except God, but Dorian isn't interested in him at all). The things he thinks are perfect are not. Not Sybil, not Lord Henry, not His portrait, nor himself. Nothing is perfect, so when he sets his expectations beyond what even he himself can reach, he will always be unsatisfied. His insatiable desires can never be quenched by anything of this earth.

February 23, 2007 10:20 AM  

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