The Great Gatsby

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade July 2001

download word file, 7 pages 3.0

Downloaded 782 times

"The Great Gatsby" The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald is a novel that is very complete, it has love, infidelity, wealth, and even murder. The story takes place in New York, more specifically on the East and West Eggs of Long Island. The novel takes place in the 1920's. The novel starts in the Spring of 1922. It is narrated by one of its main characters, Nick Carraway. In this novel there are several types of conflicts like, conflict with self, with society, and with otheres.

Nick, the narrator, is a mid west boy who moves east to work in New York as a bond sales man. He strives to make sense of all the chaos and carnage, but it is Gatsby's attempts to construct a sense of order for himself which dominates the novel. Eventually we learn that Gatsby is an invention, a self-constructed figure, who arises out of the West and, in the best traditions of American self-help, strives to "get on" and "make something of himself".

Nick Carraway is the moral center of the novel. Nick is the voice of the novel, documenting his companions exploits in the summer of 1922. Raised in a wealthy middle-western family, Nick graduates from New Haven, the college he attended with Tom Buchanan. After serving in World War I, Nick, at age 29, moves east to learn the bond business, and becomes involved with the affairs comprising "The Great Gatsby". Eventually, Nick acts as a liaison between Gatsby and Daisy, setting up the infamous first reunion at his house. Despite repeatedly insisting that he prides himself on his own honesty, Nick continually aligns himself with next-door-neighbor Gatsby whose entire existence is a fabrication remaining loyal to his friend throughout the second half of the novel. He is a distant cousin to Daisy.

What he is trying to tell the reader is, "I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known", but we see him lie on several occasions. So it is all but impossible to get an accurate picture of Nick. By the end of the book he is very jaded, though. When he and Jordan break up he says "I'm thirty. I'm five years too old to lie to myself and call it honor". So the experience with Gatsby and the others takes it's toll on him. But in the end, the reader cannot be certain of who the real Nick is. Nick Carraway has a special place in this novel. He is not just one character among several, it is through his eyes and ears that we form our opinions of the other characters.

Another important character is Jay Gatsby he is the son of a farmer who becomes wealthy in order to win back the love of Daisy. His original name was James Gatz, but changed his name to Jay Gatsby when he was 17. He is a bootlegger and Nick's neighbor. Gatsby's entire life is devoted to his dream of acquiring the love of Daisy. Gatsby's dream seems to parallel the American dream. He believes that if he has enough money then youth, beauty, time, and love can be his. In the end, Gatsby has not grown at all, and is destroyed by his utter devotion to a single dream.

To truly understand Gatsby, it is necessary to look at not only his true life, but the life that he tried to create for himself. The truth is that he came from poor backround and created a fantasy world where he was rich and powerful. Even in his youth Gatsby was not content with what he had. He wanted money, so he managed to get it. He wanted Daisy, and she slipped through his fingers. So even when his wealth and stature are at their greatest, he will not be content. He must have Daisy. Yes, there is love. But more than that there is a drive to posses her because that is what he wanted for all of those years ('Can't repeat the past?' he cried incredulously. 'Why of course you can!' "). She was part of his image for the future and he had to have her. And although Gatsby seems very kind, he is not afraid to be unscrupulous to get what he wants. When he wanted money, he was more than willing to become a bootlegger. His drive is what makes him who he is, good and bad. And it is this drive that ends up ruining his life. I think Gatsby is like most people, because up to a point he wants to do things right, but as they say, in love and war, every thing goes. So I think that he is just a good man, that is very much in love and just wants Daisy's love, no matter what.

Another important character is Daisy Buchanan she is the distant cousin of Nick, and the wife of Tom. She was Gatsby's girl before he left for the war, but she married Tom while he was away. Daisy is a beautiful, yet empty woman. While Gatsby seems blinded by her beauty, Nick does not trust her. She is the mother of a young girl who only briefly appears in the story. She accidently kills Myrtle, her husband's mistress. As she said when she delivered her daughter, " that's the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool". Daisy is smart enough to understand the limits imposed on her and has become jaded and indulgent because of them.

A good word to describe Daisy would be careless. Because many of the things that Daisy does, the accident with Myrtle in particular, show a woman who is just careless, who has become very much wrapped up in herself. Part of this is due to the fact that she had been spoiled all her life. She was born into money and had an endless assortment of men who would continue to spoil her. So she has learned to think only of herself without regard for the people that it may hurt.

In this story we meat Tom Buchanan, who is also an important character, he is a strong, hard-drinking, and wealthy man who spends his time having extra-marital affairs. He attended Yale where he was a football star and classmate of Nick, though the two were not good friends. He is having an affair with Myrtle. Being born into a family that is wealthy has made Tom a spoiled man. He hasn't really worked his entire life and instead spends his days in indulgence and ease. This is what motivates Tom; gratification. There was a situation they would have to face and they didn't want to. So they ran to their money and fled the situation, leaving it to be dealt with by others. Tom will spend his whole life doing things like that because that is who he is: A careless man who won't be bothered by the suffering he causes.

Tom is the antagonist in this novel. While Gatsby was fighting in World War I Tom was using his wealth to sweep Daisy off her feet. Tom is a yuppy and clearly in the way of Gatsby's love for Daisy. He is having an affair, which he makes no attempt to keep secret, with Myrtle Wilson while stringing along Myrtle's husband on a business deal. He treats Myrtle even worse than Daisy because in his eyes Daisy is worth a three hundred thousand dollar pearl necklace while Myrtle is worth a dog leash. With that fact in mind it is reasonable to assume Fitzgerald is telling us that Tom considers Myrtle to be his pet dog.

One of the most important scenes of the story is when Nick invites Daisy to Gatsby's house. Daisy and Gatsby are reunited through Nick and Gatsby shows Daisy that he now has more wealth than he used to. Everyone is materialistic, except Nick. Gatsby is a little disappointed because Daisy is not as perfect as he remembered, after this chapter the novel start to be more interesting and conflict.

Another very important scene ocurrs in the chapter seven when Gatsby tells Tom that Daisy has never loved Tom and has always been in love with him. Daisy quietly agrees. Tom, enraged, says that he has investigated Gatsby and found out that he earned his money through being a bootlegger. The argument dies down and Gatsby and Daisy decide to leave in his car.

Wilson and Myrtle are was fighting. During the fight she runs into the road just as two cars are approaching either direction. She is hit and killed but the car does not stop. It is later found out that the car was Gatsby's and Daisy was driving it.

The novel ends when later on, Tom tells Wilson that Gatsby is responsible for his wife's death. Wilson then goes to Gatsby's house, kills Gatsby and shoots himself. Nick, being Gatsby's friend, makes the funeral arrangements. He tries to find some of Gatsby's other friends quickly realizing that the few friends Gatsby does have don't really care about him. Only three people go to the funeral. Saddened by Gatsby's death, Nick moves back to the Midwest to start a new life.

I think that this book is giving us the message that infidelity can lead to many, many problems, that you should really take a close look at the people you think are your friends, because it may turn out that you can count the number of true friends with the fingers of one hand, and have some fingers free. This applies to most people, because now in day infidelity is taken very lightly, and people don't measure the consequences of their actions. In my case in particular it shows me that honesty is the best way to go, and that I have t think before I act.

I really liked this book because it has a very realistic things, it is not just any fary tail with a happy ending, and it shows how all things have consequences, and that if you are not going to take responsibility for your actions it is best not to do anything you cant handle. It is a great book and I would recommend it to others, because you can get a small bite of reality from this book .