The Great Gatsby
Transcendentalism in Characters: Chris Mccandless, Mary Anne Bell and Jay Gatsby
Self-discovery is defined as “the act or process of achieving self-knowledge”(Merion Webster). Every story has a beginning and an end, but in between, the characters all have different types of experiences. From an experience, a character often comes to a realization/revelation about their journey/ life. These revelations can influence the characters thoughts, actions, and beliefs or in other words, they can change the character into a completely different person. In the book’s The Great Gatsby, Into the Wild, and The Things They Carried characters Jay Gatsby, Chris McCandless, and Mary Anne Bell all come to realizations about who they are or who they strive to be and had gone through crucial self-discoveries that completely changed them.
In The Great Gatsby, we observe the life of the main character Jay Gatsby through the eyes of his next door neighbor and friend Nick Carraway. At first look, Gatsby seems like he lives a great life: he lives in a mansion, owns fancy cars, throws extravagant parties, etc. However, when you get to know him, like Nick did, you will see that his life isn’t so perfect after all. Jay Gatsby was born James Gatz to a family of farmers in North Dakota. From a young age, Gatz despise the poor and sought to one day be wealthy. His journey to wealth would begin when he met a rich man named Dan Cody. One day, a young Gatz was working on Lake Superior and saw a massive yacht in the middle of the lake. However a big storm was aproaching so Gatz went out into the middle of the lake to warn the owner of the boat. The owner, Dan Cody, was so thankful for the warning he offered Gatsby a job as his assistant. In order to achieve his goal of becoming wealthy James Gatz would change his name to Jay Gatsby and accept the job offer: starting a new life that was detached from his upbringing. Money was only important to Gatsby because he was in love with a girl named Daisy Buchannan. He knew Daisy would never love him as a poor man and so he spent his entire life trying to be someone else. Gatsby thought the only thing that would make him happy in life was Daisy and that the only way to get Daisy was with money. This thought process led to Gatsby to believe that money could buy happiness. However, once Gatsby saw that Daisy didn’t want to be with him, even with all of his money, he came to the conclusion or self discovery that money does not make you happy. A major theme in The Great Gatsby is the acquisition of wealth and social ranking. Reader’s find out that Gatsby lives a sad and lonely life : sells illegal alcohol, lives alone, chases after a woman who doesn’t want to be with him, no one attends his funeral, etc. Jay Gatsby had all the money he desired, but the one thing he didn’t have was true happiness. Gatsby’s self discovery deepens my understanding of the theme by inferencing that people in society were chasing after the wrong things; instead of trying to be happy in the life they had, characters spent their whole life trying to obtain some greater sense of happiness but would end up living a miserable life instead. If the characters were to just live in the moment, maybe there life wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Another person who sought happiness was Chris McCandless. In the book Into The Wild, the main character Chris McCandless had attended Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and was your typical college student. However, unlike most people in college, McCandless was fed up with the materialism of the world. Later on, Chris would come to the discovery that in order for him to be truly happy, he would need to become a transcendentalist and isolate himself from the rest of civilization. In order to achieve this goal, McCandless, like Jay Gatsby, changed his name to Alexander Supertramp and traveled into the Alaskan wilderness. An important theme throughout the book is Valuing Principals over People. One of the best parts about McCandless was that he stuck to his principles. He lived by his anti-materialism to the fullest extent: giving away all of his money to charity and kept as few possessions as he possibly could. However, while this is admirable of Chris, he seems to put his principles above people, which leads him to cause unintended pain in his loved ones. For example, in college Chris decided he would no longer hand out or accept gifts because he had a moral problem with them. While this decision is based on Chris’s principals it hurt his family(loved ones). Chris’s realization is also an example of him valuing principals over his loved ones. Chris went to Alaska because he believed it was the only way he could find true happiness but in doing so he hurt his family (by leaving them). Since Chris decided to leave, it shows that he values his principals over the people he cares for.
Finally, In the book The Things They Carried, Mark Fossie is a young medic who invites his high school sweetheart Marry Anne Bell to come live with him while he fights in the Vietnam war. He came up with the idea from Eddie Diamond, the highest ranking man within his company, who faticously suggests that the area where the soldiers were occupied was so safe that you could bring a girl to the camp. Fossie seems very intrigued by this idea and would write a letter to Marry Anne Bell inviting her to come to Vietnam. A few weeks later, a young and innocent Marry Anne Bell arrives in Vietnam. However, little did she know her whole life was about to change. For the first two weeks her and Mark Fossie had a grand time; they would hang out like they did back in Highschool. Additionally, it seemed like Mark had achieved his goal of bringing his experiences from America to Vietnam. This would soon change as Marry Anne’s interest for the war skyrocketed. She would start off by learning how to assemble, fire, and clean weaponry. Marry Anne Bell was very eager to learn about fighting in the war. As a result, she would join the Green Berets on their nighttime ambushes. Acting more like a soldier, after a few weeks Marry Anne Bell decided to look like one too. Because most of her time was now spent fighting the North Vietnam and the Vietcong’s, Bell did not have time to worry about her hygiene/personal appearance. Additionally, she would cut her hair short and tie and green bandana around it. Because Marry Anne was so involved with the combat of the war, she would spend less time with her boyfriend who is unhappy about her transformation. As a result, Mark Fossie makes arrangements for Marry Anne Bell to be sent back to the US.
However, Marry Anne refuses to go back to America and would disappear for a few days. When Marry Anne returns a few days later she goes right past mark and into the special forces tent. Mark would take a peek into the tent and notice that Marry Anne was wearing the same outfit she had worn when she came to Vietnam: A pink sweater, and a skirt. However, when Fossie approached Marry Anne, he noticed that she was wearing a necklace of human tongues! Marry Anne tries to convince Fossie that what she was doing was necessary but Fossie didn’t buy it. A major theme in this book is that war is a transformative experience. Mary Anne Bell contributes to this theme by changing from a pretty girl who wore pink sweaters to a ruthless killer who wears tongues around her neck. Bells experiences also draw a parallel to what most young solders went through in Vietnam. The transformation of Marry Ann Bell also furthers my understanding of the theme by showing that war can transform any one even an innocent young girl.
A Character Analysis of Jay Gatsby
Jay Gatsby the hero of the 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. An artful culmination depicted and propelled the American Literature. The writers and readers, apparently appreciate this secretive character. However, for what reason do we, as readers, cherish characters like Gatsby? Since they’re mind boggling achievers who appear to twist destiny to their will? Who appear to create their own particular predetermination? Also, isn’t that what ‘flexibility’ is about. Jay Gatsby once named ‘James Gatz’ yet later on transformed it to ‘Jay Gatsby’. He is a country cultivate kid experiencing childhood in North Dakota without associations, cash, or education, Jimmy Gatz had an plan: he would get away from his conditions and become famous. What’s more, fortunately, his father has spared his plan. It’s a long story, yet it merits citing in full. From there on, as per the storyteller, Nick Carraway, said that, Gatsby is a well off person and the proprietor of a costly mansion wherein lavish occasions are consistently facilitated. All in the hopes to win Daisy back. The book spoke to that he is an exceptionally fascinating character. He has a wide range of characteristics and displays every one particularly. Be that as it may, when you make a stride back and take a gander at him in general, he is an exceptionally deceived man. He trusts the way to the best future is a total reclamation of the past. He doesn’t comprehend the progression of time and how it changes individuals. In any case, Gatsby’s character speaks to all that is great in this novel and its does not shock anyone that he is a standout amongst other characters in American Literature.
He is viewed as ‘awesome’ in a confusing sense. Gatsby is viewed as ‘incredible’ by the estimation of dreams, his riches, his overwhelming identity, the celebrations and good humor that, to others in the novel, stamp him as a man of high stature and nearly god-like in individual extents. By a similar token, in an apparently conflicting movement, his significance is set apart by our wonder of him, as we watch his eager interest for the acknowledgment of his dark esteems and the desire of adoration and riches that come so near realization, yet remain, agonizingly, simply distant.
Relationships Between Jay Gatsby and Daisy in the Great Gatsby
Does Jay Gatsby love Daisy? After reading the book, that is the question that one is left with. Perhaps, when they first met, but afterwards, Daisy, as a member of “[the] distinguished secret society” is the symbol and the image for what Gatsby aspires to achieve.
Young Jay Gatsby, an officer in the army first meets Daisy Fay when the other officers gathered at her house to compete for the attention of Daisy. Gatsby, meeting Daisy and seeing her wealth “falls in love” with her and her house. This creates Gatsby’s dream to have enough wealth and status to marry Daisy. Gatsby’s love seems to encompass everything that Daisy is- status, social class, wealth, beauty- the epitome of what Gatsby longed for growing up in North Dakota as a penniless farmer.
The reunion of Gatsby and Daisy at Nick’s house reveals Gatsby’s core values of what he believes will win Daisy back. When the initial shock of meeting a long lost love had diminished, and Gatsby realizes that Daisy is happy to see him, Gatsby suggests a tour of his mansion. He shows Daisy his golden hairbrush, his decorated bedrooms, and his gaudy shirt collection just to show off his wealth. Gatsby, instead of using his charm to win Daisy back, believes that his rekindling of his relationship with Daisy would stem from the seeds of wealth.
When Nick, our narrator, attempts to pinpoint the eloquence and the tinkle in Daisy’s voice, Gatsby instantly recognizes it as “full of money”. This ties back to Gatsby’s love of “things” and monetary wealth. This is the main argument of the questioning of Gatsby’s love. As readers, we recognize Fitzgerald’s flamboyant and intricate style, and he would not skive off describing Daisy’s voice- Fitzgerald purposely does not describe Gatsby’s romantic love for Daisy. Daisy, in the eyes of Gatsby, is personified as money, and Gatsby wishes to obtain it to supplement his wealth. Daisy is no more to him than a house or a Rolls Royce.
On the fateful night when Myrtle was struck and killed, Gatsby discloses to Nick that Daisy was “the first “nice” girl he’d ever known”. Note the quotations around “nice”. This statement is an earthshaking quote that forces the reader to reimagine what they believe Gatsby truly loved. Gatsby did not believe that her personality was enjoyable to be around, Gatsby thought Daisy was nice because of all the wealth she had. Gatsby had never before been so close to a rich girl, and therefore Daisy was the first.
Another hint that Fitzgerald gives is that Daisy is symbolized as a “golden girl”. A type of girl that would win the beauty pageant, a type of girl that would be prom queen. But this is not what Gatsby sees. Even Nick, her cousin, recognizes the unique and alluring voice of Daisy. But all Gatsby sees and hears is the money in her voice, the money in her beauty. To Gatsby, the “golden girl” is not so much about the girl as the gold, and this is shows beyond doubt that Gatsby did not love Daisy.
The things that Gatsby does for Daisy can be seen as romantic. Perhaps they were, as an ulterior motive. But in the deepest part of his heart, all Gatsby wants is to marry Daisy to achieve his goal- to go up the social ladder. Perhaps Gatsby loves Daisy for her money she represents. But it cannot be questioned that Gatsby’s “love” for Daisy encompasses not only Daisy, but the whole upper class that she belongs to. Daisy to Gatsby was a step along the process to achieve his goal of status, and therefore that was Gatsby’s obsession.
From his childhood, Jay Gatsby hated and despised the way that he and his family lived, and tried his hardest to change their way of living. He taught himself how to act and speak like a member of the upper class. So when Daisy came along, he jumped at the opportunity to climb up the social ladder. Daisy was the last step on the ladder. Daisy is important, the most important thing to Gatsby not because he loved her as a person, but as the last step to his target of status.
The Great Gatsby: Reasoning Behind Jay Gatsby’s Hidden Identity
Throughout the novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jay Gatsby, formerly known as Jay Gatz, hides his origins in attempts to become a new man and forget his less than desirable past for a new life of fame, glory, riches, and the prize girl. Though, as the novel and the plot come to a climax, Gatsby must come to terms with who he is and all he has hidden when his secrets are revealed and all is lost.
One aspect of the novel that shapes Gatsby’s character and his relationships with others is his not so glamorous back story. As a man known for his extravagance and ability to astonish anyone with his riches and great personality, many would be shocked to see that this was all a façade he learned to put on after acquaintancing himself with a boater who taught him the ways of gentlemen hood. After traveling the world with this man and building a façade, abandoning the former Jay Gatz, for the spectacular Jay Gatsby, Gatsby is thrown into the world and is left to rise to glory on his own. His deciding to hide this past and pretend to be someone who has learned the ropes of the rich world to gain beneficial friends and make money shapes his future life and relationships with others as he holds the weight of these secrets on his shoulders. He is forever known as the mysterious and secretive man who everyone admires but knows nothing significant about, until an enemy learns and reveals everything to tear him down.
Another aspect of Gatsby’s hidden past that shapes his life and relationships, and seemingly the most influential of all, was his relationship with Daisy. From the time Gatsbys meet’s Daisy, he becomes devoted to winning her over, spending all his money on a mansion across from her, expensive material possessions, and throwing extravagant parties in which he does not enjoy at all, in attempts to win her back from her now rich and admirable husband, Tom Buchanan. This aspect of the novel seems the most important because without Daisy to keep Gatsby going in his charade of being rich and famous, he may not have reached such a level and dug himself such a deep hole, filled with the secrets and lies he holds in attempts to impress his love. And even with such a deep devotion to this woman, and the fact that she is one of the main reasons that he continues this façade, she is also the cause of his downfall, when these secrets become too much. For Gatsby, Daisy symbolizes the dreams he will never have, no matter how much money he makes, or who he pretends to be, because in the end, no matter what he did and who he was, it was not enough for Daisy, who preferred Tom, who has been rich his entire life, over Gatsby who supposedly rose to fame in his adolescence through work and effort.
The last aspect of Gatsby’s life that shaped his character and affected his future relationship to what they came to be was Gatsby’s childhood dreams. From his childhood, Gatsby dreamed of the extravagant. He abandoned his family and home in attempts to gain and become this dream that he has held so dearly, giving up everything he knew for this life and American Dream. This characteristic continues over into his new life as Gatsby devotes his entire being to a new cause, Daisy. For Gatsby, the idea of Daisy is so encompassing and amazing that he dedicates his entire being to winning her over, to the point that it overwhelms him and ultimately causes his downfall. Even for others, they are intrigued by the absence Gatsby sometimes seems to have as he thinks about all that he wants, his neighbor Nick once describing the way Gatsby stood on his dock and stretched his arms out towards the orgiastic green light of Daisy’s house, symbolizing all that he wants but cannot have. Disappointingly, for Gatsby, he was simply weighed down too heavily by his past and the mysterious origins that shaped who he become, once described in the quote ending the novel, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. (Fitzgerald)”
The Phenomenon of American Dream in the Great Gatsby
Did Gatsby ever achieve the American Dream? F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fictional novel, “The Great Gatsby,” shows how a dream can become corrupted by one’s focus on acquiring wealth, power, and expensive things. Jay Gatsby, the main character in the novel, is a self-made man who started out poor, and makes most of his money by illegally selling alcohol. Some people say that Gatsby did achieve the American Dream, but despite his wealth, he was unable to live a happy, successful lifestyle as Fitzgerald shows how this dream is full of materialism.
The American Dream is a lot of things. One of them is knowing who you are. When Nick was young, his father said to him, “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” (pg.5) By criticizing others for no apparent reason, the results, being judgmental. Toward the end of the novel, Nick says, “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made…” (pg.187-188) Another example of the American Dream is to not be selfish. Being selfish, or greed, can only lead to failure, and to the downfall of society. Some consider Gatsby as a selfish man because he prefers
to do what’s best for him rather than what’s best for those around him. For example, Gatsby doesn’t care about the consequences of having an affair with Daisy. The fact that she has already started a life with Tom and even has a daughter, it doesn’t bother Gatsby; he just wants to be with Daisy just like the good old days.
The American Dream is something that can always be pursued, or accomplished. Nick says, “I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when his first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream most have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in the vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” (pg.189) But sadly, Gatsby didn’t achieve it even when he setted high goals for his dream. Gatsby says to Tom, “Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” He looked around him widely, as if the past were lurking here in the shadow of his house, just out of reach of his hand. “I’m going to fix everything just the way it was before,” he said, nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.” (pg.116-117) Gatsby’s dream is to be with Daisy, but lost it because he always goes back to his past when he should forward to the future.
And last, but not least, the America Dream is all about letting go. Nick says, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” By dwelling in the past can result in obsession and misfortune. But by letting go of the past, achieving the American Dream could’ve been easier.
Gatsby is considered throughout the story an anti-hero, being selfish and dishonest man, and having low moral standards. These are some of the main reasons why Gatsby didn’t achieve the American Dream. He’s considered as an anti-hero because he doesn’t risk his life saving people nor does he show any signs of courage. He is considered as a dishonest man, for the obvious reason, lying about his past and present. He tries convincing people that he attended Oxford University and received medals by multiple European countries during WWI. He also claims to own multiple drugstores. In reality, Gatsby attended college at St. Olaf’s in Minnesota, but dropped out after two weeks and is obtaining his wealth by bootlegging. The only reason how he has knowledge about being rich is because of Dan Cody, who he became friends with.
As you can see, Gatsby isn’t Mr. Perfect; he has flaws. He obtains his money illegally and behaves immorally. Gatsby lies and sins, but does it all for love and happiness. Being selfish, corruptive, having low moral standards, and most importantly, being dishonest are the main signs why Gatsby never achieved the American Dream. Although he isn’t the typical hero that enthralled everyone with his courage and charisma, he is still a great man who is crucial to the story because he simply represents the average human being.
F. Scott Fitzgerald effectively offers a powerful critique of a materialistic society and the effects it can have on one’s hopes and dreams. Gatsby is so blinded by his dream that he doesn’t realize that money cannot buy love or happiness. He’s surrounded by this materialism and discontent, which serves to tarnish his dream of success.
The Valley of Ashes as a Main Symbol in the Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby: Symbolism in The Valley of Ashes
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald has become a literary classic of the 1900’s. This book, set in the 1920’s, takes place in Long Island Sound and New York. the valley of ashes is found between West Egg and New York City, however in contrast to East and West Egg’s rich preeminent society, the valley of ashes is where the poor people live. Its inhabitants are the casualties of the rich who are dumped on by the rest of the world in the same way ashes are dumped on them. The Valley is literally defined by its dust and ash, this is where the ashes from the city’s industries are dumped. The alley of ashes, with its brooding eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg,, its grey and dreary backdrop and its contrast to East and West Egg, uses various forms of symbolism. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism, exemplified by the valley of ashes, gives the novel a timeless appeal and saves it from becoming just another period piece.
Within the valley of ashes, above everything else, there stands a billboard with an advertisement for an optometrist. “The eyes of Doctor T J. Eckleburg are blue and gigantic- their retinas are one yard high. They look out of no face, but instead, from a pair of enormous yellow spectacles which pass over a non-existant nose.” ( Fitzgerald 26) In this novel these behemoth eyes are made to represent God, or more accurately a dead God that sits and stares while we destroy everything. They act as a constant reminder of society’s moral decay, but observe silently, offering neither guidance nor comfort. This theme is still very common today. It seems that fewer and fewer people believe in God, and those who do, see him as a punisher, not a savior. The idea of a dead God is rampant in our society. There is so much destruction, wastefulness and corruption , that it almost seems as if God is a lifeless entity which “Broods on over a solemn dumping ground” (Fitzgerald 26).
The valley of ashes is described as being a dark dirty place covered in grey ash. The colour grey has its own symbolism within the book as it implies the disappearance of hopes and dreams. “transcendent effort of ash-grey men” (Fitzgerald 26) refers to the men who work in the valley of ashes. Their existence is hardly living, they have no dreams. In reference to the valley itself, the colour grey is used as a descriptor, ” Above the grey land and the spasms of black dust” (Fitzgerald 26). In this context grey is meant to describe the valley itself, and the hopelessness of it’s inhabitants. Grey in today’s society continues to be a colour of depression, sadness, misfortune and the poverty-stricken. Fitzgerald uses a lot of colour symbolism, but in the valley of ashes the predominant one is grey. The colour symbolism is easy to understand because grey still has a lot of the same associations, it also allows people to relate easily to the material .
The valley of ashes is situated right between the places where the wealthiest people choose to live and work. East and West Egg are home to the wealthy aristocrats, and New York City is the ritzy metropolis where all the money is made, but right in the middle is the valley of ashes. ” This is a valley of ashes- a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat ridges and hills and grotesque gardens, where ashes take the forms of houses and chimneys and rising smoke and finally, with a transcendent effort, of men who move dimly and already crumbling through powdery air” (Fitzgerald 26). This is where all the book’s death and decay converges, producing a sharp contrast between it and the ritzy atmosphere of the Eggs. This contrast is also very notable in today’s society. There is still such a gap between our wealthiest and poorest peoples, that the valley of ashes is as much a symbol of our time, as it is of the 1920’s. You can read the vividly depicted scenes of the valley of ashes and make connections to similar experiences in your own life.
The Great Gatsby can be enjoyed by anyone. It’s use of simple symbolism, such as the colour grey, and the eyes of Doctor T J. Eckleburg, are easy to understand and at the same time easy to relate to one’s own life. The stark contrast between the valley of ashes and the Eggs, or New York is also easily related to every day life. Most of the issues addressed in this novel haven’t gone anywhere, though they may have altered slightly. Grey is still associated with death, poverty and depression. God is still thought of by some as a lifeless entity, who watches idly, doing nothing while people are murdered and our society destroys everything. The thing that has changed the least since the 1920’s is the difference between the rich and the poor. the valley of ashes, if it represents nothing else, represents the contrast between wealthy and poor. If we can relate so much to a novel that was written so long ago, then how far has our society really come?
Role of Colors in the Great Gatsby
The Great Gatsby Symbolism Essay
The Hidden Story in Green and White
Colour symbolism is really popular in novels written during the 1920’s. One such example is Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. There is much colour symbolism in this novel, but there are two main colours that stand out more than the others. The colours green and white influence the story greatly. Green shows many thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and choices that Gatsby has throughout the story. White represents the stereotypical fa that every character is hiding behind.
The colour green, as it is used in the novel, symbolizes different choices the character, Gatsby, can make during his life. The green element in this novel is taken from the green light at the end of the dock near Daisy’s house. The colour itself represents serenity, as in everything is perfect. This warns Gatsby that he should not pursue his dream for getting Daisy back, because his chance has passed and everything is as it should be. This is shown with Nick’s insight, “…His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him… (Pg.189)”
Another symbolization of the colour green, which contradicts the first, is the meaning “go.” As in a traffic light signal, most people associate green with the word and action “go.” This can be interpreted as meaning Gatsby should go for his dream without hesitation. It implies that Gatsby and Daisy are meant to be together and nothing should stop Gatsby from his destined happiness and love with Daisy. It inspires hope for Gatsby that he is on the right path, heading towards the best years of his life. He believes that things will soon be as they once were, only better. “”I’m going to fix everything just the way they were before,” he said nodding determinedly. “She’ll see.”(Pg. 117.)”
The last symbolization the colour green has in this novel is an urge to strive ahead in life, to do better in life and succeed. Gatsby changes his entire persona for a better, more sociable, image and status. He is constantly striving to be a more successful figure in society. Ever since he was a boy he put himself on a schedule with hopes for becoming a highly respected, well-known person. “He knew he had a big future in front of him. (Pg. 181),” his dad says about him. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this…(Pg. 182).”
White is the other colour symbolism interlaced into this novel. Where green only influenced one character, white has a wider range of influence on the characters. This colour symbolizes one thing, a fa, but it appears in every character. For example, Daisy is always seen wearing white, which gives her and innocent naive appearance. It is as though she uses that as an excuse for when she does something ridiculous or childish, making it seem like she does not know any better. In reality, she knows exactly what she does but just doesn’t care. She uses this little princess image and her money to hide her biased, snobbish, and conceited view of herself and her lifestyle. “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together…(Pg. 187-188).”
Another character that hides behind the white symbolic fa is Jordan Baker. She also wears white quite often. She acts as though she is superior to everyone around her. Her posture, her attitude, and even the things she says imply this arrogance. “She was extended full length at her end of the divan, completely motionless and with her chin raised a little as if she were balancing something on it which was quite likely to fall. If she saw me she me out of the corner of her eyes she gave no hint of it-indeed I was almost surprised into murmuring an apology for having disturbed her by coming in. (Pg.13).” She portrays a bored and apathetic attitude about everything, which is part of her “I am too good for you” appearance. In reality, she just wants to be as respected and socially accepted as Gatsby. She is not willing to take responsibility for her actions and uses her image as a guard implying that she could not have possibly done anything immoral, much like Daisy.
However, “She was incurably dishonest. She wasn’t able to endure being at a disadvantage, and given this unwillingness I suppose she had begun dealing in subterfuges when she was very young in order to keep the cool insolent smile turned towards the world and yet satisfy the demands of her hard jaunty body. (Pg. 63).”
Colour symbolism is not very noticeable, yet it can tell a great deal about a story. In this case, the colours give the reader a look at the character’s choices and the paths he or she could have chosen compared to the ones the character chose, which adds dimension to the story. The green the different choices Gatsby can make, whether it serves as a warning, an inspiration, or an urge to get ahead. The white symbolizes a mask, or a fa. It allows the characters to portray themselves as a whole other person and hide who they really are. This puts a piece of reality into the story, as everyone wears a white mask of some kind to hide his or her true self from the world. It is the unsubtle clues given to the reader that are fascinating and allow a person to relate to the characters.
Symbolism in the Great Gatsby Movie
Baz Luhrmann takes a unique approach in his film adaptation of the novel, with the same name, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. With blockbuster stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Joel Edgerton, Lurhmann’s Gatsby does an interesting job of tackling the socioeconomic structure of post-WWI America. Set in the “Roaring 20’s”, it is easy to see why revelry is so prevalent in the film, as America had just won the biggest war (so far) of the century. There are symbols, imageries, and allegories in the film that Luhrmann did a great job of bringing to life.
In order to effectively analyze the symbols, imageries, and allegories in Gatsby, the said terms need to be defined. Symbolism, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is this, “artistic imitation or invention that is a method of revealing or suggesting immaterial, ideal, or otherwise intangible truth or states.” Imageries is defined as “figurative language.” Finally, allegories being defined as “a story in which the characters and events are symbols that stand for ideas about human life or for a political or historical situation.” Now that these terms have been defined, deciphering Lurhmann’s work will be much easier.
The first and easiest to point-out symbol is the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock, which has several imageries wrapped into one symbol. Green obviously means go, fueling Gatsby’s desire to pursue Daisy. The green light is also shown a tangible explanation for Gatsby’s determination and love for Daisy, because it is unfaltering when times are rainy and misty. When Daisy has her doubts and eventually Gatsby is destroyed by his love for Daisy, the green light is ever-shining in the distance. Perhaps as a carrot tied to a stick on a rabbits back, the green light was Gatsby’s motivation to continue and not give up on himself and Daisy.
Another symbol in Gatsby is the “eyes of T.J. Eckleburg”, which are on a billboard in the valley of ashes. The gold-wire framed glasses on an impassive face represents more than an advertisement for a doctor, they depict a God-like character in the film. Instead of using religious representation to describe an all knowing character, Fitzgerald has effectively replaced God with capitalism. This is huge, because every time the characters in the movie leave their palace-like homes and venture into New York City they have to travel through the valley of ashes, enabling the idea that the American Dream is broken.
Although this purposes a question, if Gatsby and Buchanan are both equally rich, why does Daisy not choose Gatsby in the end? The answer is simple, Gatsby did not earn his money on merit. He used a bootlegging empire to gain all of his riches, and the “old money” elite of New York did not look highly at this way of making money. Buchanan knew that Daisy still held on to her belief that status was everything, and if Buchanan could rip apart Gatsby’s reputation in a secluded apartment, anyone can. Even with all of Daisy’s disdain for Buchanan’s chauvinistic tendencies, she could not get over the fact that Gatsby was a fake, and had to choose her husband over him.
All in all, The Great Gatsby, was an excellent film that had deeper value than a “party flick”. Gatsby navigated a post-WWI America in a modern way, showing that a book written in 1925 still has weight today. Fitzgerald’s use of symbols, allegories, and imageries, plays a cautionary tale of the American Dream. “The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.” -Nick Carraway
The Language Techniques Used to Build Tension in Chapter 7 of The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
How did Fitzgerald raise tension throughout the Chapter 7 of ‘The Great Gatsby’?
Generally considered one of the finest novels by Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby explores the theme of roaring twenties and demonstrates the lack of morals in a superficially glittering world. Throughout the chapter 7, the author uses a plethora of language techniques to build up the tension to represent the climax in the novel.
At the beginning of the chapter, Fitzgerald uses narration to represent the rise of the tension between Tom, Daisy and Gatsby – “Their eyes met, and they stared together at each other, alone in space. With an effort she glanced down at the table.” This quote raises tension because it indicates the cause of the potential argument between the characters to the reader. The flow of actions in the first sentence – “their eyes met” and then “they stared together at each other”- symbolizes the bold confession of the romantic relationship between Daisy and Gatsby as “their eyes met” can happen accidentally but they choose to maintain the eye contact to admit their feelings for each other through non-verbal means. This creates a sharp contrast to the reader as since the first time the three of them met, Daisy wasn’t particularly intimate with Gatsby, which made him feel “far away from her,” but now they feel as if they are “alone in space.” This metaphor implies that they are so drunk in love that they can only see each other and the fact that Tom is there doesn’t bother them at all. Therefore, the sudden change in Daisy’s attitude and the presence of Tom foreshadows to the reader that this meeting isn’t going to go as smoothly as the previous one because Tom will most likely notice the affair and, due to his possessive and proud personality, he will ‘fight’ with Gatsby to get Daisy back.
Reinforcing my point, the fact that Daisy “with an effort” broke the eye contact with Gatsby indicates to the reader that her love for Gatsby reached its peak and she longs for the life full of opportunities and freedom she can have with him that she doesn’t want to return to her reality with Tom. As a result, this rises tension because from previous chapters the reader learnt that Gatsby is the type of man who will interpret Daisy’s behavior to fit his expectations, so this time he will take Daisy’s reluctance as a sign that she finally wants to leave Tom, hence he will fight back to keep Daisy at his side. However, this line can also be interpreted as the following: during their intimate eye-contact, Daisy realizes that igniting the flame of old love isn’t worth destroying her social reputation. Throughout the whole book, it’s obvious that everything the wealthy care about is their reputation, and since during the 1920s it was unacceptable for women to cheat on their husbands, running away with Gatsby will lower Daisy’s social status she was born with and that was the last thing she wanted to happen. Knowing she can’t challenge the society, she looks down with reluctance. This rises tension because the reader realizes that during the battle between Tom and Gatsby, Daisy will take Tom’s side and that will make Gatsby lose his temper.
In the middle of the chapter, Fitzgerald uses dialogue to show the building up of the tension – “What kind of a row are you trying to cause in my house anyway?” This line is extremely important in this chapter because it does three things. Firstly, it demonstrates to the reader that Tom is explicitly aware of the relationship between Daisy and Gatsby and now he has the power over the situation. He can decide whether take the argument further or let go of Daisy. Secondly, the dialogue makes the reader feel that the whole tension caused by the badly hidden affair was building up to this point. Fitzgerald structured the chapter in such way that before this line, all of the three characters tried to keep their appearance and act as if nothing happened, but now the tension reached one of its peaks and Tom, unable to get over his tampered pride, explodes, thus causing the argument reach another level where Daisy is forced to make a decision. Thirdly, this line is an excellent provocateur as it forces genuine reactions from Gatsby and Daisy which foreshadow the result of the argument. For example, Gatsby felt “content” but Daisy “looked desperate from one to another.” This represents the peak of tension because the reader realizes that the conversation is taking the path Gatsby wants it to take but Daisy hasn’t made up her mind yet and this indecisiveness will give some hope to Tom, which will thrive him to fight for Daisy with more power. Since Daisy is Gatsby’s American Dream, her indecisiveness not just fails Gatsby’s expectations but it also proves to him that no matter what he does his origin will never let him be a true member of a high society. Therefore, this line foreshadows to the reader a fiercer and tenser battle between Tom and Gatsby, which will lead to a new peak of tension.
Lastly, towards the end of the chapter the writer uses foreshadowing to show the buildup of the tension – “So we drove on towards death through the cooling twilight.” After reaching the conclusion that Daisy will stay with Tom, Fitzgerald lowers the tension until this line. This way the sentence has a greater effect on the reader as it enables him to take a pause from tension, and think that nothing worse can possible happen anymore, and then get startled and realize that the situation is actually getting worse. The foreshadow of death is so blatant in this sentence that it immediately turns the relaxed atmosphere into tensed one, forcing the reader to read on to know more. Yet, despite the indication of tension, the diction of “we drove on towards death” implies that this time there will be no struggle as the characters will gladly embrace the death, thus creating the contrast with other episodes of tension where the struggle for dominance was evident. However, this line can also be interpreted that the situation is inevitable and there is nothing the characters can do as someone is destined to die. This technique creates more tension because throughout the novel most of the characters showed their power of will and influence, hence the reader realizes that if none of the characters have influence over the situation, then it must be something out of human power, like a god’s punishment. Likewise, the word “twilight” means the time between the day and the night, hence it’s a symbol for someone who is stuck in between something. Throughout the book, it’s evident that each of the main characters is stuck between two things: Tom is trapped between Myrtle and Daisy, Daisy is in between Tom and Gatsby and Gatsby is stuck between the reality and his fantasy. The word “cooling” can also be interpreted as a symbol for a corpse as when someone dies, their body temperature drops. Overall, the expression “cooling twilight” can be a symbol for a dead body of one of the main characters. Linking this to the explanation of “we drove on”, this raises tension because the reader realizes that one of the main characters will receive a death sentence from God and since each of them committed a number of sins (Gatsby is a bootlegger, Daisy and Tom are both cheated, lied, and played with other people’s feelings) and is tensed to know who will it be.
As a conclusion, Fitzgerald built up tension throughout the chapter 7 by using a plethora of language techniques such as diction, foreshadowing, structure, symbolism, and metaphor. The most significant language device in building up the tension is the structure because the author cleverly used diction and foreshadowing in the right places of the novel. If Fitzgerald didn’t take pauses and lowered the tension levels in the key places, the non-stop series of tensed events wouldn’t have the same effect on the reader.
Comparative Analysis of Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Great Gatsby
Janie and Daisy: Love in Their Eyes Were Watching God versus The Great Gatsby
Their Eyes Were Watching God and The Great Gatsby are two novels that illustrate very different levels of class and privilege. Zora Neale Hurston’s work Their Eyes Were Watching God, which follows an impoverished African-American woman’s coming of age, is greatly contrasted with the wealthy lifestyles depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work The Great Gatsby. Through their differences both authors embrace themes of love and passion as they relate to the minds of both men and women with little regard to class or wealth. Though expressed through different events, the two widely celebrated works explore the possibilities, promises, and pitfalls of romantic love. These themes are ultimately shown through frustrating romantic journeys of Hurston’s Janie Crawford and Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan.
The possibilities of romantic love can come about in many ways, whether it be sudden and vivid as depicted by Hurston, or gradual and traditional as expressed by Fitzgerald. These possibilities are illustrated rather graphically in Their Eyes Were Watching God, in which young Janie experiences her first genuine sexual appeal under a blossoming pear tree.
She was stretched on her back beneath the pear tree…she saw a dust-bearing bee sink into the sanctum of a bloom; the thousand sister-calyxes arch to meet the love embrace and the ecstatic shiver of the tree from root to tiniest branch creaming in every blossom and frothing with delight. So this was a marriage! She had been summoned to behold a revelation. […] She was sixteen. She had glossy leaves and bursting buds and she wanted to struggle with life but it seemed to elude her. Where were the singing bees for her? (Hurston 45)
Hurston creates the image that Janie’s teenage mind was often busy dreaming of the lustful possibilities of marriage and romantic figures, though her youthful years proved to be less fruitful than she’d hoped. To contrast, this same idea is written vaguely in The Great Gatsby to suggest that Daisy Buchanan experiences the hopes of love in a less sensual and experimental way:
“When I came opposite her house that morning her white roadster was beside the curb, and she [Daisy] was sitting in it with a lieutenant I had never seen before. They were so engrossed in each other that she didn’t see me until I [Jordan Baker] was five feet away.” (Fitzgerald 81)
Daisy Buchanan goes on to forget about this love and, though rather grudgingly, settles for marrying another man. Yet, Fitzgerald and Hurston painted this image of opportunity to express that possibilities must always come before realities.
Promises of love can come from anywhere, whether it be from one’s mind, inside the relationship, or an outside influence. From Janie to Daisy, the promises in each woman’s life are much different. After catching her kissing a boy as she experiences the revelations of the pear tree, Janie’s grandmother assures her that marriage comes first, not love; she is promised the idea that love is learned like anything else, not found.
Yes, she would love Logan after they were married. She could see no way for it to come about, but Nanny and the old folks had said it, so it must be so. Husbands and wives always loved each other, and that was what marriage meant. […] She wouldn’t be lonely anymore. […] But anyhow Janie went on inside to wait for love to begin. The new moon had been up and down three times before she got worried in mind. (Hurston 26)
Simply because Nanny tells Janie that marriage creates love, Janie waits patiently to begin falling in love. However, when love does not come after three months, Janie begins to doubt her. Similar in theme but different in expression, Daisy has her own experience with promises of love, though more abstract and left unspoken. Daisy’s love affair with the young lieutenant Gatsby were brief but wishful, and ultimately had only introduced Daisy to a promise of happiness that was not strictly attained by her life with Gatsby:
For Daisy was young and her artificial world was redolent of orchids and pleasant, cheerful snobbery. […] Something within her was crying for a decision. She wanted her life shaped now, immediately—and the decision must be made by some force—of love, of money, of unquestionable practicality—that was close at hand. (Fitzgerald 162)
Janie and Daisy ultimately search for a feeling that they were promised: Janie expecting her grandmother’s words to prove true, and Daisy expecting to find the love, now unattainable, she once had with Gatsby.
Hurston and Fitzgerald convey the idea that the drawbacks of failed love are ultimately productive and educational. For Janie, drawbacks are common and often take the form of unmet promises, resulting in her efforts to fix the problem. After the difficulty of her first failed marriage, she runs away with another man, Joe Starks, pursuing a better, stronger marriage.
What was she losing so much time for? A feeling of sudden newness and change came over her. Janie hurried out of the front gate and turned south. Even if Joe was not there waiting for her, the change was bound to do her good. (Hurston 38)
Her marriage to Logan Killicks was a drawback in her quest for love, which only further inspired her to push forward and live proactively rather than passively. Similarly, Daisy Buchanan experiences a period of forward movement following the disappointment of her failed love with Gatsby and marriage to Tom. When the young army man fell too distant, Daisy came to terms with the idea that she must move on in her pursuit of happiness.
Through this twilight universe Daisy began to move again with the season; suddenly she was again keeping half a dozen dates a day with half a dozen men […] and something within her was crying for a decision. That force took shape in the middle of spring with the arrival of Tom Buchanan. (Fitzgerald 162)
Unlike the timely societal norms of women within each work, Janie and Daisy assume a proactive nature following failed relationships, suggesting that pitfalls of love eventually lead to a productive period.
The possibilities of romantic love can come about in many ways, whether it be sudden and vivid as depicted by Hurston, or gradual and traditional as expressed by Fitzgerald. The journeys of Janie Crawford and Daisy Buchanan prove that the cycles of love can, though not always, result in self-enlightenment and adventures within oneself. Through each character, Hurston and Fitzgerald convey the idea that possibilities must always come before realities; promises of love can come from anywhere, whether it be from one’s mind, inside the relationship, or an outside influence; and the idea that the drawbacks of failed love are ultimately productive and educational. In addition, the contrasting time periods and class settings—and the resulting depiction of a wealthy, privileged mind versus one of less fortune—work together to pose another question: though often expressed and experienced differently, is the quest and perseverance for love truly unstoppable?