In his critical essay, “The Mystery of Ungodliness”, Bryce J. Christensen writes about the parallel that F. Scott Fitzgerald creates between Jay Gatsby and Jesus of Nazareth from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Christensen explains that Fitzgerald once wrote a letter to his friend, John Jamieson, explaining that he was going to write the story of Jay Gatsby’s youth, but he did not because he wanted to maintain the element of mystery that goes along with the novel. Christensen parallels this to the absence of any detail about the childhood and adolescence of Jesus in the New Testament. Other parallels that Christensen describes include the description of Gatsby by Nick Carraway:
“(Gatz’s) parents were shiftless and unsuccesful farm people—his imagination had never really accepted them as parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby was of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God—a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that—and he must b…
gatmoral Moral and Emotional Range of The Great Gatsby
The Moral and Emotional Range of The Great Gatsby
Throughout Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, there is a broad spectrum of moral and social views demonstrated by various characters. At one end, is Tom, a man who attacks Gatsby’s sense of propriety and legitimacy, while thinking nothing of running roughshod over the lives of those around him. A direct opposite of Tom’s nature is Gatsby, who displays great generosity and caring, yet will stop at nothing to achieve his dream of running off with Daisy. The moral and emotional characteristics of Gastby and Tom are juxtaposed, Tom, the immoral character and Gastby, the moral character while the other characters’ moral and emotional developments appear between these two.
At first glance, The Great Gatsby is merely a classic American tragedy, portraying the story of a man’s obsession with a fantasy, and his resulting downfall. However, Fitzgerald seems to weave much more than that into the intricate web of emotional interactions he creates for the reader. One interesting element is the concepts of greatness each has. For Daisy, it lies in material wealth, and in the comfort and security associated with it. Daisy seems to be easily impressed by material success, as when she is touring Gatsby’s mansion and seems deeply moved by his collection of fine, tailored shirts. It would seem that Tom’s relative wealth, also, had at one time impressed her enough to win her in marriage. In contrast to that, Gatsby seems to not care a bit about money itself, but rather only about the possibility that it can win over Daisy. In fact, Gatsby’s extreme generosity gives the reader the impression that Gatsby would otherwise have never even worked at attaining wealth had it not been for Daisy. For Gatsby, the only thing of real importance was his pursuit of Daisy. It would seem that these elements are combined, too in the character Myrtle.
Myrtle is, as Daisy, impressed with Tom’s wealth and appearance, but, like Jay Gatsby, is stuck in a fantastic, idealized perception of her object of affection. Even when abused and trampled over by Tom, Myrtle continues to adore him, just as Gatsby continues to dote upon Daisy after being obviously rejected by her. As far as ethical considerations, Gatsby tends to prove himself a sincere and caring person, while Daisy and Tom just destroy the lives of two people and then leave town to escape the consequences of their actions.