Gatsby Essay, Research Paper
The Great Gatsby
Why did Daisy choose Tom in the end??? In the novel “The Great Gatsby”, Daisy Buchanan was faced with an enormous decision. She had to choose between Tom; her husband and Jay Gatsby; her lover. Gatsby seemed to be the ideal man of his time. Fabulously wealthy, handsome, charismatic and intriguing, he seemed to be able to offer everything a woman could want. All he wanted in return was Daisy?s complete unconditional love. Tom, on the other hand could offer Daisy money, security and freedom. Ultimately Daisy chose the latter. The roaring 20?s was an era of total decadence. The first World War had ended and industry was booming. People were becoming millionaires overnight. There seemed to be no end in sight to the prosperity. Although people were becoming rich quickly, old money provided more privilege than new money. Tom Buchanan came from old money. He was a Westerner who was renowned in college for both his football skills and his supremely decadent lifestyle. The narrator states “His family were enormously wealthy, even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach-but now he?d left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.” Daisy chose to marry Tom because of his wealth and power. Fitzgerald writes “There was a wholesome bulkiness about his person and his position and Daisy was flattered.” He could offer Daisy prestige in addition to all the old money one could dream of. Gatsby had made his money by illegal means. He was a nobody from nowhere and although he was rich beyond belief, he was one of the hundreds of nouveau riche who lacked the cache of the old money set. Although Gatsby could offer Daisy romance, love, excitement and intrigue, her need for security freedom and money made her eventually choose Tom. In terms of security, Tom could offer much more than Gatsby. Tom?s old money could offer Daisy prestige and social position whereas Gatsby?s money was quickly and somewhat questionably earned. Everyone including Daisy realized that it could be just as quickly lost. Tom states “I found out what your drug-stores were. He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter” . Tom also said “That drug-store business was just small change but you?ve got something on now that Walter?s afraid to tell me about.” This proves that Gatsby?s money was achieved through corrupt means and his lack of position would leave him vulnerable to prosecution if he were to be caught. On the other hand, Daisy and Tom?s elite position in society enabled them to “get away with murder”. They were able to move away and start anew after hitting Myrtle in the car. Due to the wealth and power of Tom and Daisy, they were able to live with a substantial amount of freedom. They were able to tear apart the lives of people and move on without as much as a backward glance. Nick?s judgment of them was “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” Daisy?s selection of Tom over Gatsby afforded a somewhat unorthodox freedom. Tom had many mistresses but always returned to Daisy. He said “Once in a while I go off and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time.” Daisy also loved the luxury of having both a husband and a lover but Gatsby would not allow it. He wanted all of her and she could not give that to him. She said “Oh, you want too much. I love you now- isn?t that enough.” Although Gatsby could have offered Daisy a variety of things such as romance, love and excitement, she ultimately chose Tom because of her selfishness. She grew up with old money, security and freedom and was not willing to give it all up for love. I believe that the author chose the name Daisy because Daisy in Latin means the day?s eye or the sun and everything revolves around the sun. Daisy does not care about anyone else and she believes that everything revolves around her!
The Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitsgerald, is about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its imaginative goals. The attempt to capture the American Dream is common in many novels. This dream is different for fidderent people, but in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream and in order to do this he must have wealth and power. Jay Gatsby, the main character of the story , is a character who longs for the past. Suprisingly he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally, dies in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with the extravagant Daisy. Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves her to obtain wealth to reach her high standards. Once he acquires this wealth, he moves near to Daisy, “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay,” and throws extravagant parties, happen,he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon he meet Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know… if you’ll invite Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know…if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over.” Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle’s death. “Was Daisy driving?” “Yes…but of course I’ll say I was.” He also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. “How long are you going to wait?” “All night if necessary. “Jay cannot accept that the past is gone and done with. Jay is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that he acted for a good beyond his personal interest and that should guarantee success. Nick attempts to show Jay the folly of his dream, but Jay innocently replies to Nick’s assertion that the past cannot be relived by saying “Yes you can, old sport.” This shows the confidence that Jay has in fulfilling his American Dream. For Jay, his American Dream is not material possessions, although it may seem that way. He only comes into riches so that he can fulfill his true American Dream, Daisy. Gatsby doesn’t rest until his American Dream is finally fulfilled. However, it never comes about and he ends up paying the ultimate pirce for it. The idea of the American Dream still holds true in today’s time , be it wealth, love, or fame. But one thing never changes about the American Dream; everyone desires something in life, and everyone, somehow, strives to get it. Gatsby is a prime example of pursuing the American Dream.
Symbolism in the Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel about one man’s disenchantment with the American dream. In the story we get a glimpse into the life of Jay Gatsby, a man who aspired to achieve a position among the American rich to win the heart of his true love, Daisy Fay. Gatsby’s downfall was in the fact that he was unable to determine that concealed boundary between reality and illusion in his life. The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel whose predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby’s dream exists on borrowed time. Fitzgerald perfectly understood the inadequacy of Gatsby’s romantic view of wealth. At a young age he met and fell in love with Ginevra King, a Chicago girl who enjoyed the wealth and social position to which Fitzgerald was always drawn. After being rejected by Ginevra because of his lower social standing, Fitzgerald came away with a sense of social inadequacy, a deep hurt, and a longing for the girl beyond attainment. This disappointment grew into distrust and envy of the American rich and their lifestyle. These personal feelings are expressed in Gatsby. The rich symbolize the failure of a civilization and the way of life and this flaw becomes apparent in the characters of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, quickly became disillusioned with the upper social class after having dinner at their home on the fashionable East Egg Island. “Nick is forced unwillingly to observe the violent contrast between their opportunities- what is implied by the gracious surface of their existence- and the seamy underside which is it’s reality” (Way 93). In the Buchanans, and in Nick’s reaction to them, Fitzgerald shows us how completely the American upper class has failed to become an aristocracy. The Buchanans represent cowardice, corruption, and the demise of Gatsby’s dream Gatsby, unlike Fitzgerald himself, never discovers how he has been betrayed by the class he has idealized for so long. For Gatsby, the failure of the rich has disastrous consequences. Gatsby’s desire to achieve his dream leads him to West Egg Island. He purchased a mansion across the bay from Daisy’s home. There is a green light at the end of Daisy’s dock that is visible at night from the windows and lawn of Gatsby’s house. This green light is one of the central symbols of the novel. In chapter one, Nick observes Gatsby in the dark as he looks longingly across the bay with arms stretched outward toward the green light. It becomes apparent, as the story progresses that “the whole being of Gatsby exists only in relation to what the green light symbolizes This first sight, that we have of Gatsby, is a ritualistic tableau that literally contains the meaning of the completed book” (Bewley 41). A broader definition of the green light’s significance is revealed in Chapter 5, as Gatsby and Daisy stand at one of the windows in his mansion. “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.” “Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it has seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed so close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects has diminished by one” (Fitzgerald 94). Gatsby had believed in the green light, it made his dream seem attainable. Upon meeting Daisy again, after a five-year separation, Gatsby discovers that sometimes attaining a desired object can bring a sense of loss rather than fulfillment. It is when Gatsby makes this discovery that the green light is no longer the central image of a great dream, but only a green light at the end of a dock. The most obvious symbol in The Great Gatsby is a waste land called the Valley of Ashes, a dumping ground that lies between East and West Egg and New York City. Symbolically “the green breast of the new world” (Fitzgerald 182) becomes this Valley of Ashes. As the illusions of youth give way to the disillusionment of the thirties, so green hopes give way to the dust of disappointment. Certainly Gatsby’s dreams turn to ashes; and it is dramatically appropriate that the custodian of the Valley of Ashes, George Wilson, should be Gatsby’s murderer. That Wilson is the demise of Gatsby’s dream- and that the dream gives way to ashes- is made clear through descriptive detail. Over the desolate area, known as the Valley of Ashes, brood the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg. “Gatsby is a kind of T. J. Eckleburg; he has created a god like image of himself, but the image is doomed- the dream will turn to dust- and like Eckleburg, Gatsby also has occasion to brood over the ashes of the past, over the solemn dumping ground of worn out hopes” (Lehan 121). The death of Gatsby comes ironically from George Wilson’s total misunderstanding of the world from which the Buchanans and Myrtle come. The eyes of Dr. Eckleburg, brooding over the Valley of Ashes, become what is left of the Son of God Gatsby has imagined himself to be. As the novel closes, the experience of Gatsby and his broken dream become the focus of that historic dream for which he stands. In the final thoughts of the novel, Fitzgerald would like the reader to see a much broader picture of the theme- a vision of America as the continent of lost innocence and lost illusions. He compares Gatsby’s experience to that of the Dutch Sailors who first came to Long Island and had an unspoiled continent before them. As Nick lies on the beach in front of Gatsby’s home, his last night in the East, he contemplates this thought, “I became aware of the old island that flowered once for Dutch sailor’s eyes – a fresh green breast of the new world. It’s vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder. I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him” (Fitzgerald 182). Gatsby’s greatness was to have retained a sense of wonder as deep as the sailor’s on that first landfall. Gatsby’s tragedy was to have had, not a continent to wonder at, but only a green light at the end of Daisy’s Dock and the triviality of Daisy herself. The evolution of such triviality was Gatsby’s particular tragedy and the tragedy of America. Gatsby fades into the past forever to take his place with the Dutch sailors who had chosen their moment in time so much more happily than he. By the close of the novel, Fitzgerald has completely convinced the reader that Gatsby’s capacity for illusion is touching and heroic, despite the worthlessness of the objects of his dreams. It is through combining faultless artistry with symbolism that Fitzgerald paints a vivid picture of the dream destined to fail because it’s basis was illusion. not reality The Great Gatsby Cary L. Pannell Eng. 206 Rough draft of Final Word Count 1328 Thesis: The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel in which predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby’s dream exists on borrowed time. I. American Rich symbolize the failure of a civilization. A. Fitzgerald’s feelings toward wealthy B. Nick’s disappointment with Buchanans C. Rich fail as aristocracy D. Gatsby betrayed by class he idealized II. Green light symbolizes hope. A. Gatsby’s being significant to symbolism of green light. B. Green light ceases to be an enchanted object. III. Most obvious symbol is Valley of Ashes. A. Hope gives way to dust of disappointment. B. Death and destruction of dreams lie among ashes. C. T.J. Eckelberg’s eyes are God-like symbol. IV. America the continent of lost innocence and illusions. A. Gatsby’s experience compared to Dutch sailors. B. Gatsby’s tragedy was triviality of Daisy. Conclusion: Symbolism and artistry paint a vivid picture of a dream destined to fail. Works Cited Bewley, Marius. “Scott Fitzgerald and the Collapse of the American Dream.” Modern Critical Views F. Scott Fitzgerald. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1985. p. 41. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. 1925 Lehan, Richard D. “The Great Gatsby.” F. Scott Fitzgerald and the Craft of Fiction. Chicago: Southern Illinois University Press. 1966. p. 121. Way, Brian. “The Great Gatsby.” Modern Critical Interpretations F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. 1986. p. 93.
The Great Gatsby — Pursuit of the American Dream
The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is about the American Dream, and the downfall of those who attempt to reach its illusionary goals. F. Scott Fitzgerald was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1896. He was a student of St. Paul Academy, the Newman School, and attended Princeton for a short while. In 1917 he joined the army and was posted in Montgomery, Alabama. This is where he would meet his future wife Zelda Sayre. Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise, was published and became a bestseller, which gave him enough money to get married. He was published at the age of only twenty-three and was regarded as the “Speaker for the Jazz Age.” Fitzgerald seemed to write his books, not for the enjoyment of writing alone, but for the wealth that cam with it. However, even though things seemed more than satisfactory at the time, things would seem to take a turn for the worse. Zelda’s schizophrenia and Fitzgerald’s drinking problem led Fitzgerald to rely mostly on his short stories for income. Slowly they started to lose their appeal as well. Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald ended up dying in Hollywood on December 21, 1940. But even after his death, his books would remain everlasting classics in the eyes of the reading world. Many novels are centered around the attempt to capture the American Dream. This dream is different for different people, but in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream and in order to do this, it seems that he must have wealth and power. Jay Gatsby, the central figure of the story, is one character who longs for the past. Surprisingly he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally, dies in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love affair with the affluent Daisy. Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves her to amass wealth to reach her economic standards. Once he acquires this wealth, he moves near to Daisy, and throws extravagant parties, hoping by chance that she might show up at one of them. He, himself, does not attend his parties but watches them from a distance. When this dream doesn’t happen, he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon he meets Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know…if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some afternoon and then let him come over (page 83).” Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle’s death. “Was Daisy driving?” “Yes…but of course I’ll say I was.” (p. 151) He also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. “How long are you going to wait?” “All night if necessary.” (p. 152) Jay cannot accept that the past is gone and done with. Jay is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that he acted for a good beyond his personal interest and that should guarantee success. Nick attempts to show Jay the foolishness of his dream, but Jay innocently replies to Nick’s claim that the past cannot be relived by saying, “Yes you can, old sport.” This shows the confidence that Jay has in fulfilling his American Dream. For Jay, his American Dream is not material possessions, although it may seem that way. He only comes into riches so that he can fulfill his true American Dream, Daisy. Gatsby doesn’t rest until his American Dream is finally fulfilled. However, it never comes about and he ends up paying the ultimate price for it. The idea of the American Dream still holds true in today’s time, be it wealth, love, or fame. But one thing never changes about the American Dream; everyone desires something in life, and everyone, somehow, strives to get it. Gatsby is a prime example of pursuing the American Dream. This book seemed to ignite many, many thoughts in my mind that pertained to the many points presented in this story. The basis of my report, which is the pursuit of happiness, and mainly the American Dream, has always been present in the lives of all things living. The feeling of want for something better than what we already have is the foundation of improvement in our world today. Anyone who has ever thought that they deserved a promotion or anyone who has ever bought a lottery ticket, has inevitably, at one point in their lives, thought about something better for themselves. If they hadn’t, then they would not have tried to obtain the new corner office space or win that million-dollar prize. In essence, this novel depicts one man’s journey through life, and once it is over with, his want for his youth to return to him. I enjoyed this book immensely, because Fitzgerald drew me into the story with every descriptive word, and made it so that I was, in some way, able to relate and connect with each character. Fitzgerald has truly displayed the fact that, even though you may want it so badly, dreams are made and broken every day.