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Jay Gatsby as Tragic Hero of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Jay Gatsby as Tragic Hero of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

According to Aristotle, there are a number of characteristics that identify a tragic hero: he must cause his own downfall; his fate is not deserved, and his punishment exceeds the crime; he also must be of noble stature and have greatness. These are all characteristics of Jay Gatsby, the main character of Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby. Jay Gatsby is a tragic hero according to Aristotle’s definition.

Jay Gatsby is an enormously rich man, and in the flashy years of the jazz age, wealth defined importance. Gatsby has endless wealth, power and influence but never uses material objects selfishly. Everything he owns exists only to attain his vision. Nick feels “inclined to reserve all judgements” (1), but despite his disapproval of Gatsby’s vulgarity, Nick respects him for the strength and unselfishness of his idealism. Gatsby is a romantic dreamer who wishes to fulfill his ideal by gaining wealth in hopes of impressing and eventually winning the heart of the materialistic, superficial Daisy. She is, however, completely undeserving of his worship. “Then it had been merely the stars to which he had aspired on that June night. He came alive to me, delivered suddenly from the womb of his purposeless splendor” (79). Nick realizes Gatsby’s estate, parties, shirts and other seemingly “purposeless” possessions are not purposeless. Everything Gatsby does, every move he makes and every decision he conceives is for a reason. He wants to achieve his ideal, Daisy. Gatsby’s “purposeless splendor” is all for the woman he loves and wishes to represent his ideal. Furthermore, Gatsby believes he can win his woman with riches, and that his woman can achieve the ideal she sta…

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…w World” (182). Gatsby’s vision corresponds to that of the explorers who discover the promise of the New World.

Gatsby is a man of extreme capabilities but he fails to see the inevitability of his vision’s failure, and in his inability to see this, he keeps trying to attain it. He does everything in his power to accomplish this vision, until his death. Daisy indirectly causes Gatsby’s death, making her more than ever, unworthy of Gatsby’s affections. Ironically, Gatsby lived for Daisy and up to his death, believed and had faith in her and his vision.

Works Cited

Dillon, Andrew. “The Great Gatsby: The Vitality of Illusion.” The Arizona Quarterly 44 Spr. 1988: 49-61.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1992.

Irwin, John T. “Compensating Visions: The Great Gatsby.” Southwest Review 77 Autumn 1992: 536-545.

Sex Education: A Necessity in Public Schools

Sex Education: A Necessity in Public Schools Today

Alice was a normal sixteen year old; she loved school, her family and her boyfriend. She was having a blast during her Junior year, until the day she found out about the “accident”. Alice and her boyfriend ,Brad, had been together for over two years, and they planned to get married. Both of them felt they were ready to have sex. However, neither of them knew anything about birth control or the dangers of having unprotected sex. What they knew about sex they had learned from watching television and from what their friends had told them. So one night they decided to go ahead and try it.

Then about six weeks later, Alice noticed that she wasn’t feeling well and that she hadn’t gotten her period for a long time. Of course, Alice had no idea what was wrong with her, so she told her mother how she didn’t feel well and she hadn’t had her period. Alice’s mother asked Alice if she and Brad had slept together, and Alice had to tell her the truth. Right away her mother knew exactly what was wrong. Alice was pregnant. Alice’s mother, Gertrude, immediately called Brad’s parents. The teenagers and their parents met and discussed the “accident”.

Later that year Alice dropped out of school and gave birth to twin girls. By this time, Brad had graduated and found a job, where he could work enough to support Alice and the twins. This one “accident” changed Alice and Brad’s lives forever. Alice never made it to her sex education class her senior year.

Alice got pregnant during a time when most teenagers weren’t having sex. However, recently a survey done by Health Initiatives for Youth , showed that more than two-thirds of high school students in the U.S. have had sex by the time they are Seniors (“Sex Education. . .”).

The history of sex education goes back to the late nineteenth century. Sex education then consisted of medical and biological information about venereal disease and reproduction. Later, when the Second World War was over, mass media played a large role in making information on sex available to kids. Many people felt this caused a need for sex education in public school (“Sex Eduation,” Encarta.). Halfheartedly public schools began teaching minimal sex education, until the late 1960’s, when educational and governmental organizations created more developed programs for sex education in schools.

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