English Comp 111
5 March 2007
Beyond the dream; the dawn of a depression
Fitzgerald’s description of the United States in the 1920’s gives us a seemingly realistic view of a world that was heading for disaster. Each character in “The Great Gatsby” carries its own weights, values, and morals, but in most cases, they all share some of the same flaws.These flaws, as are revealed throughout the story, serve to illustrate a society that slowly caves in it self, abandoning the original beliefs that had shaped the creation of this new world and recreating a false version of the old, a version that is held by fragile threads and is clearly unsure of its own insignificance. All the characters in the book are linked by one thing; their status andwealth, or lack thereof, and everything that revolves around that. The author, using the eyes and voice of Nick Carraway, a man with principles who was born in a family of the old rich but is able to scrutinize its values, depicts a society that is able to grasp its own demise but completely unable to comprehend the reasons for it.
“The Great” Gatsby proves to be consistent with his dreams, willful,and able to find the means to achieve them. Though his life is filled with shady details and criminal acts he maintains a perpetual honesty towards his hopes and beliefs that seem rare to the time in question. He also plays with the illusion of love, and stubbornly lives as a romantic who dreams to be united with his one true love from the past. In fact, everything he does, the great wealth heachieves, the great house he acquires, the great parties he throws on a weekly basis, are, through his own testimony, all but a way to reunite with his long lost love; Daisy.
Daisy is a woman born into the world of wealth. Her world didn’t allow for her to think outside of it, to elaborate dreams or cultivate illusions, and so she becomes a selfish, rather coward, and simple reflection of thewomen in her position and time. She falls in love with a soldier, makes plans, and allows the dream to exist only until he leaves for the war, when she quickly returns to her reality and goes on to marry a man who was of her same class and that her parents approved; an act that in itself should have been enough to at least hinder some insight in Gatsby’s conception of his past lover. Gatsby, however,could not accept the cards he had been dealt at birth and he saw in Daisy a concretization of all his dreams. She was the utmost conquest, the one thing that would prove, perhaps only to himself, that he did not have to accept his fate, and that he could and would create who he was. This manufactured idea of a beautiful Daisy that “sounded like money” goes on to become his obsession as he makeshis way through life cutting corners to become the man she would admire, searching for his personal version of the American Dream.
Gatsby then establishes a pattern that had started to reveal itself since the day he met Daisy, when he lied to her about his birth. This pattern involves a world of lies, deceit, and illegal activities, however, the nobility of his values and the source of hisreasons tend to absolve him in Nick’s mind, and eventually in our own. We go on to absolve this personification of the American Dream once his father comes to his funeral close to the end of the novel and reveals to Nick and the reader that Gatsby has always been a dreamer, an organized, self controlling dreamer. He brings with him a small book, a diary/agenda of sorts that Jimmy kept as a boy, and heproudly tells Nick, how Gatsby carefully accounted everything he did and planned ahead to everything he’d achieve. His father’s presence brings a much more humane side to this larger than life hero that we have in our mind, removing him from the obsession that brought his demise, or even the criminal acts that allowed him to find Daisy once again.
In chapter seven, after a daringly bold Daisy...