The novel “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald can be called a bitter satire to the American dream, which according to the ideas of the majority implies the heap of the happiness, which is missing to many, and in reality gold outer shell is converted into the empty road trunk, glued by the set of bright traveling stamps, but without any souvenirs inside.
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This book is not about one person, although the personal name in title implies the opposite, but about the specific world view of group of people, which consists of the tendency toward the material might, toward wealth and luxury, which in turn, shield that part of the sincere human relations, without which any contemporary person feels lonely in the crowd.
This essay shows how the struggle of the protagonist depicted in the novel and his inability to connect as the main attribute of modernist authors.
The perspective, from which the narration is conducted, does not belong to this circle of the American elite, which is pampered by diverse enjoyment, but sometimes not enjoying this pleasure; therefore it is easier for the protagonist to look at the events proceeding there from the side.
He knows that it came close to this world only by the will of chance and at any moment will emerge from there into the more usual to him flow of life.
However, at the same time, he does not hide his trembling in front of, so called aristocracy.
This relation is especially noticeable on the first pages of the novel, where the author notes many deficiencies in his rich friends in the halo of the justification of their possibility to allow themselves everything.
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Near the end he expresses his attitude more openly and gradually lessens the possibility to be manipulated. After being introduced more closely with the representatives of “the cream of society” it is revealed that each person is playing his role now and occasionally controls his true feelings.
The rules of the game are accepted by the ones who want to become famous, but a few surmise, that this popularity is only a myth, supported by who already entered the game, for purposes of maintaining their prestige.
If some individuals get accustomed to this “mask”, others find it necessary to break something inside them in order to tune in more easily. It gets very sad, because after attaining the cherished dream, he is no longer able to feel the happiness.
If analyzing the character of Jay Gatsby, as character who is obsessed by his dream. This dream unconsciously manages Jay Gatsby.
The rules, which he established for himself since the youth, are some kind of finalized code of attitude for any believer in “the dream” and who solidly decided using efforts, thrift, sober calculations and hard work to open a passage in life, and proving by his own example that the chances were equal and only the qualities of the man are considered.
However, for Gatsby there were other ambitions known, which are not utilitarian. Such aspirations also were consonant to “the dream”.
This dream suggested that in America the man is free to select fate for himself and nothing prevents him from living in harmony with himself.
It indicated that in the country, where there is a place sufficient for all under the sun and a set of untrodden paths is opened before each one, the man can be again limitlessly free. In the 20’s something seriously oscillated in the ideas about “the dream”.
For the first time, perhaps the dream it self began to be realized as a tragic illusion. The characters inability to connect as a form of vagueness and nebulosity is concluded in the very nature of Gatsby. He is hazy in his essence, because at Gatsby’s heart the conflict of two incompatible aspirations and two diverse origins is unwrapped.
One of these sides – is naivety, simplicity of heart, the ever burning reflection of “green light”, and the star of the incredible future of happiness, in which Gatsby believes by his entire soul.
The other side – is the sober mind of the manager, a bootlegger accustomed to the unsafe, but profitable game, which during the happiest day for him, when Daisy steps over the threshold of his house, gives out instructions to the branches of his firm on the telephone.
At one pole dreaminess, on other – pragmatism and unintelligibility in the means, without which there would be no house, or millions. Latitude of soul and unscrupulousness, that passes one into another.
Fitzgerald is attracted to the energy and power and disturbed by wasteful misappropriation of efforts.
The means, selected by the protagonist for the achievement of happiness, are not capable of ensuring the happiness, in the way that Fitzgerald’s “New Adam” is represented.
The dream collapses – not only because Daisy is vendible, but also because Gatsby has decided to conquer happiness, paying Daisy a price much greater than she did, a price that was gathered by Gatsby without being squeamish of any means to do so. Without “the dream” the existence of the “new Adam” is thoughtless.
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Wilson’s shot is similar to the impact of a dagger, by which in the Middle Ages, the dying of wounds people were finished as an act of mercy.
What is Gatsby great for? He is great in his struggle and his role of a rich person with the mysterious reputation, the host of the magnificent evening festivals, which he arranged in hope of drawing Daisy’s attention. He is great because of the power of his feelings, his devotion to the “dream”, rare gift of hope, and his sincere generosity. He is great by his steadfast adherence to the ideal of “new Adam “. However, if using the metaphor, by which Fitzgerald finished his novel, the ideal was noble only when a man will swim forward without any interference, as if the flow does not exist. In reality – the attempt to swim forward, fighting with the flow and it gradually carries and carries our little ships back into the past.
“The Great Gatsby” – is an example of a dual vision, which the author himself is defining as the ability to simultaneously retain two directly opposite ideas in the consciousness, which enter one with another in conflicting relations, thus creating the dramatic motion of the plot and the development of characters.
The duality of title character gives tragic coloring to him. Narration is saturated by metaphors, which by its contrast emphasizes this dual perspective for the proceeding events: The carnival in the Gatsby’s manor, the nearby dump of garbage, the green light of happiness – the dead eyes, which look from the gigantic advertising board and etc.
“One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano, and beside her stood a tall, red-haired young lady from a famous chorus in song. She had drunk a quantity of champagne, and during the course of her song she had decided, ineptly, that everything was very, very sad – she was not only singing, she was weeping too. Whenever there was a pause in the song she filled it with gasping, broken sobs, and then took up the lyric again in a quavering soprano. The tears coursed down her cheeks – not freely, however, for when they came into contact with her heavily beaded eyelashes they assumed an inky colour, and pursued the rest of their way in slow black rivulets. A humorous suggestion was made that she sing the notes on her face, whereupon she threw up her hands, sank into a chair, and went off into a deep vinous sleep.” (34)
This is an example of the conscious use of the style of alienation in which the inability to connect is demonstrated. We clearly see those beings present, but we cannot perceive them as living people with the internal life inherent in people. As if they were from another world.
Describing the alienation of people from each other or the alienation from his human essence, Fitzgerald shows also his own inability to connect with them.
In “The Great Gatsby” the alienation of the present was demonstrated as for the first time it was openly expressed the disbelief into the fact that America indeed some time will be a terrestrial sanctuary for the loner person.
In the final scene of “The Great Gatsby” Carraway will foresee an ancient island, which arose there once before the look of Dutch sailors, untouched green bosom of new world. The rustle of trees, those that later disappeared, after yielding the place for the house of Gatsby, the rustle that some time was a music for last and the most great human dream; it must be, that for one short charmed moment the people harbored their breath before the new continent. And the “fine morning” did come.
As a final note in the depiction of the society “The Great Gatsby” is a title that is rather to a certain extent ironic, because nothing great was did by Gatsby himself, in contrary it was only the most bright example of the fact that, after changing oneself for a “fairytale world”, it is very easy to lose the ideal, which makes it necessary to go forward. So the main hero, after stepping over himself, yielded to a temptation to become one of the outstanding rich people, but made all this for the past love, but as a result this all remained invaluable and disappointing. The pessimistic end of the novel showed the entire mental irreparable loss.
The inability to connect of his character is depicted as his inability to find his love, to adapt to his new world and to reach the happiness that he was certainly searching and put all these efforts to do it. The character always looked as if he was isolated or alienated from the world that surrounds him, and even if he was trying to pull him self into the “aristocracy” community he did not enjoyed it, and merely did that for a reason to find his love.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. : Scribner, 2004.