The Great Gatsby
Jay Gatsby, just like Nick, comes from North Dakota, a Midwest Cityalthough his father is from Minnesota. At the beginning of the novel,Jay Gatsby is portrayed as a gracious dreamer, charming, but a littlebit mysterious. However, as the story unfolds, the reader learns whatthe mystery is all about: That all the things Gatsby has ever done inhis entire adult life is with the main reason of quenching hisunrealistic dreams – the dream of recapturing the past. Jay Gatsbyis in a number of ways, great, as the title suggests, however, whenhe is critically examined there are things he stands for that wasnot admirable.
According to Lathbury (p.88), Gatsby’s success story, in onesense, makes him an example of an American dream. He began withlittle, like the sons of average unsuccessful farmers. He even hadless at the time of his youthful stage having estranged himselfvoluntarily from his family, not able to accept the much he had dealtwith already in his life. He had the opportunity to reevaluatehimself while he was on his own, and due to his own sole ingenuity,Jay Gatsby evolved from Jimmy Gatz. And because of that, life forGatsby changed a lot even though he was missing the most importantthing money. He no longer attaches himself to his previous years,but he could occasionally imagine a past he desired for himself(Boom, p.101).
Jay Gatsby then fell in love, an incident that could be consideredfateful since it changed the direction of his life completely. Aftergetting to know Daisy, everything he did was for the sole purpose ofwinning her. However, money was the main reason that prevented thetwo of them from being together, and this was the turning point ofGatsby’s life since he made sure that he would never be deprived ofit ever again. Turvey and Fitzgerald (p.208) noted that Gatsby’sperseverance and drive in realizing his goals, is commendable in manyways. In all aspects, Gatsby became admirable since he became aself-made man.
While his positive traits are easily recognizable, there are JayGatsby’s aspects, however, that are called into question. As hewould like other people to believe, Gatsby’s wealth did notoriginate from the inheritance, but from a well organized crime(Boom, p.99). The story is set at the time Gatsby was at thereceiving end having profited immensely from engaging in the smell ofillegal liquor. In addition, Wyly (p.178) points out that whilepeople could come to Jay Gatsby’s party in large numbers, he knewvery little about them. In fact, he does not even want to know moreabout them, but just whether they are familiar with Daisy. Gatsby andNick’s friendship finally begins to flourish but after Gatsby findsout that Daisy is indeed Nick’s cousin.
While examining Gatsby, according to Wyly (p.189), one should be ina position to assess his blind pursuit of her. From every littlething he does to everything he buys, every single party he organizesis a section of his plot to convince Daisy to come back. In onesense, Turvey and Fitzgerald see it as lovely romantic gesture, andin another sense, it exposes “Gatsby’s childish illusion”(p.213). By focusing on his dream about Daisy, Jay Gatsby is forcedto move further into a world of his own. He his cut out from the normdue to his incapability to deal with the harsh reality, andeventually, his constant hold of his dream resulted to his own death.Towards the end of Chapter 7, Jay Gatsby is seen standing guard infront of Daisy’s house. He is unable completely to accept that hisdream will not become a reality, and therefore keeps vigil for signfrom her.
While he view it has honorable, noble, and purposeful, we thereaders are aware of this as a sign of futility of his own taskssince he eventually became a parody of his original self. Lathburyquoted that Gatsby is “fatally and quite literally, idealistic”(p.89). He could not wait, in regard to his family, distant himselffrom his past, but yet still, and tries to live hive his adult lifewhile attempting to recapture the past. What makes it even worse isthat he fell in love with daisy’s idea but not her herself.
In the novel, “The Great Gatsby,” Gatsby, the main protagonistis presented to be “great” in several instances, such as the wayhe is perceived, being romantic, and his potential. In the novel, hisgreatness (and its limitations) is developed by how Gatsby createshis core themes. The one quality which makes him great, arguably, ishow he dedicates is life and energy to make his dream a reality(Bloom, p.112). Gatsby is also viewed as “great” due to his loveand loyalty qualities, more importantly at the time of corruption ofsocial values. In addition, Nick admires Gatsby in the fact that heis very romantic at heart. He (Gatsby) never veers his dream and goalof convincing Daisy. Even in the wake of reality, Gatsby’sdetermination is admirable, although misguided.
The title of the Novel is appropriate. From the surface level, theprotagonist is viewed as one of the wealthiest in Long Island. Healso has a mansion furnished with expensive things, at the same time,hosts a party at least once every week. All his quests are givenfirst class treatment even though he does not know all of them.Gatsby is also a local celebrity. Everyone seems to have a theory onhow he became rich. In short, he is “great”. He seems to livelife on the first lane.
Jay Gatsby is foolish since he thinks he can now regain Daisy’sadmiration and affection not that he is wealthy. In one occasion,when Nick brings Daisy inside his mansion, he pulls out a number ofcolor shirts while trying to impress her. In addition, his mostfoolish action is keeping vigil outside Buchanan’s window at thenight of Mrytle Wilson’s killing, which led to Daisy conspiring onhim, leading to his tragic death.
Bloom, Harold. Jay Gatsby. Philadelphia: Chelsea HousePublishers, 2004. Print.
Lathbury, Roger. The Great Gatsby. Farmington Hills, MI: GaleGroup, 2000. Print.
Turvey, Celia, and F S. Fitzgerald. The Great Gatsby. Harlow:Pearson Education, 2008. Print.
Wyly, Michael J. Understanding the Great Gatsby. San Diego,CA: Lucent Books, 2002. Print.