The Great Gatsby deal with contradictions present in a romantic figure, certain troubling discrepancies between appearance and reality which that figure reveals under critical scrutiny. The main character can be compared with Ben Franklin as he possesses the same qualities and virtues. Similar to Ben Franklin, Gatsby value knowledge and true friendship, art and good music, good books and personal independence. Fitzgerald portrays moral questions which constitute a large share of virtues and personal qualities. Similar to Franklin, Gatsby wants to transform the world around him, for a brief term, not only himself but the world around him before he becomes the tragic victim of inevitably reasserted laws. Gatsby values the virtue of tolerance: “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores.”” Reserving judgments,” he says, as if to explain the virtus of his virtue, “is a matter of infinite hope” (Fitzgerald 2006).
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The American dream of Gatsby is prosperity and wealth, money and social recognition. Nick sees the world, twentieth-century America, as a moral and spiritual wasteland, its departed god suggestively memorable. His dream is to make the world better and promote such human virtues as goodness and kindness, love and sympathy. In contrast to Gatsby, Tom and Daisy dream about material gains only forgetting about morality and human dignity. It is possible to assume that other people can innovate and recreate themselves applying strong morals values and rules to their life and thinking. Nick seems to take on the special significance of having changed, as a type, under the effects of history, while his compeers, as types, have not. His moral essence shows signs of permutations, theirs do not. And Tom is an arrogant, as truculent, as “careless,” and even though he does not go under, is as pitifully blind and vulnerable. Nick is the knower and thinker: he could not be either one of them in this world. The personal example of Gatsby shows that a person has inner strengths and abilities to recreate. A world gathers round him, becomes peopled, and for a while lives according to the laws of his vision –the “reality” created by the nearly superhuman force of his desire, his will, his imagination. Nostalgia is a bad thing in life because it often causes emotional sufferings and desperation. Nick’s searching for the West can be seen as nostalgia for love and happiness, joy and youth he cannot recreate. As the novel’s narrative form itself implies, though Nick’s perception and understanding have been augmented and changed by his experience, Nick himself has not. Back home again, the style of his life will return to essentially what it had been before his removal to the East. But unlike Gatsby he has not been possessed by it. He does not, as he says Gatsby does, become born anew from some “Platonic conception of himself” derived from his vision of Gatsby (Fitzgerald 2006). The hardest lesson yielded up by Nick’s questing pilgrimage in the east-that the dream-led hero is doomed to destruction by the reductive laws of the reality that he would transform and transcend-is also the last. Gatsby’s vision, the “form” of his life’s enterprise, disintegrates at last before a concatenation of the “real” world’s reflexive energies.
Fitzgerald, F.S. The Great Gatsby.