In 1925 American author F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the story of The Great Gatsby. It follows a variety of characters living on Long Island in the fictional town of West Egg, the summer of 1922. The novel is narrated by Nick Carraway, a Yale graduate who rents a small house on Long Island, next door to the mansion of Jay Gatsby. Jay, who I have chosen to study, is a young millionaire, clouded in mysteries, who holds wild, massive parties without participating in them. As the story progresses Nick receives an invitation to one of Gatsby’s parties. At the party, it is revealed that the reason Gatsby bought the mansion he lives in and holds these extravagant parties is because across the bay lives a girl named Daisy. Jay met Daisy earlier in his life when he was enlisted in world war 1, he fell madly in love with her. She was also attracted to him and they even thought about marrying each other and running away, but her parents stopped their plans. When Jay gets sent to Europe to fight the war Daisy stays faithful to him for a while but then later marries another guy named Tom. When Gatsby receives a letter from her explaining this, he is crushed. He vows to spend the rest of his life getting her back. She becomes his sole purpose for being and he believes he can get her back by amassing a large enough fortune, which he manages to do through questionable means. Throughout the story Gatsby never losses sight of his dream and he is often found reaching out towards the green light across the bay, shining at the end of Daisy’s dock. I might not not relate to the money and the lush lifestyle of Jay Gatsby. But I find his obsession extremely interesting and can relate to falling madly in love.
Jay Gatsby is the namesake for the story of “The Great Gatsby” His story is for sure the main part of the novel, but you get to follow it from the eyes of the narrator who is Nick. This makes one’s perceptions of the characters filtered through Nicks own opinions. Nick admires Jay and he would absolutely have chosen him as the protagonist, and I would absolutely have to agree. When you get to meet Gatsby for the first time you will be left pondering; Who he is? What does he do? Has he killed a man just to watch him die? Despite being left with these questions, Gatsby quickly ends up filling the role of protagonist for me. He’s the one who has a goal and dream, he is interesting, and he gives the story an objective. He also gives us an antagonist in Tom a man you quickly grow to dislike.
You can easily describe Jay Gatsby as the embodiment of the American dream. He was born as James Gatz, the son of an unsuccessful farmer. Unable to come to terms with the lot he was dealt in life, he reinvented himself at the yacht of a wealthy man named Dan Cody whom he had saved from a storm. As he was employed by Dan he chooses to change his name to that of Jay Gatsby and learned the manners of the rich. He could now imagine whatever past for himself he desired as he was no longer tied to his yearly years. He then meets Daisy and falls in love; this incident would change his life forever. Everything from there on out is for the sole purpose of being with her. At the start, money was, essentially, what prevented them from being together. Because of that Jay made it so that money would never again be a problem. It is here some of his qualities as for example; his drive and perseverance show. He achieves what he wants, and he is truly a self-made man. But as all people have good traits they also have bad traits and it is easy to see how his obsession with Daisy has led him down a path of questionable decisions. Such as his way of getting rich by doing shady business.
“He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here and in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter. That’s one of his little stunts. I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong.”
Also, Gatsby’s obsession of reclaiming the past, which although is a trait that is easy to feel for, as many people are probably longing for those perfect and beautiful moments in their past when you were about as happy as you could possibly be, is not healthy to be obsessing at it. I feel his obsession with his past and future with Daisy is not only about love but of control, control of a life that for a long time has been focusing on achieving something that is out of his reach that he not truly feels in control over.
When I’m assessing the story of Jay Gatsby, it’s hard to not return to his blind pursuit of Daisy. Everything he does, every purchase that he makes, every party he throws, is all for his pursuit of bringing Daisy back into his life for good. Depending on how you chose to look at it, it could be seen as a romantic gesture, or as a childish illusion and a dream. By being so focused on his dream of Daisy, Jay Gatsby moves further and further into his fantasy and his refusal to deal with reality eventually leads to his death. His passion and obsession make him completely unable to realize his dream is not a reality and that the Daisy he loves is an idea of Daisy and not Daisy herself. I have never myself been in this position, but I believe this story is perfect to take wisdom from. Such as money can’t buy you love or friends and that unbridled passion isn’t always a good thing, but to have focus on what you want can lead to great things. As with Gatsby, he left a poor life behind and achieved a lot in his life, but in the end, his mad passion was his own undoing and he couldn’t appreciate what he had because of it.
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