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Spiritual Shallowness in The Great Gatsby

Spiritual Shallowness in The Great Gatsby

The American Dream was based on the assumption that each person, no matter what his origins, could succeed in life on the sole basis of his or her own skill and effort. The dream was embodied in the ideal of the self-made man. The Great Gatsby is a novel about what happened to the American dream in the 1920s, a period when the old values that gave substance to the dream had been corrupted by the vulgar pursuit of wealth. Spiritual shallowness is portrayed in The Great Gatsby through the characters’ pursuit of power and pleasure, the character groupings and images and the forgotten past.

The characters of The Great Gatsby are Midwesterners who have come east in pursuit of this new dream of money, fame, success, glamour, and excitement. Tom and Daisy must have a huge house, a stable of polo ponies, and friends in Europe. Gatsby must have his enormous mansion before he can feel confident enough to try to win Daisy. The energy that might have gone into the pursuit of noble goals has been channeled into the pursuit of power and pleasure, and a very showy, but fundamentally empty form of success.

Fitzgerald employs clearly defined character groupings and various images and symbols in developing the theme. Character groups include Nick, the observer and commentator, who sees what has gone wrong, Gatsby, who lives the dream purely, and Tom, Daisy, and Jordan, the “foul dust” who are the prime examples of the corruption of the dream.

The primary images and symbols used are, the green light, the eyes of Dr. T. J. Eckleburg, the image of the East and Midwest, Owl Eyes, Dan Cody’s yacht; and religious terms such as grail and incarnation.

Both the character groupings and the images and symbols suggest a second major theme that may be referred to as “sight and insight.” The novel contains many images of blindness, perhaps because hardly anyone seems to “see” what is really going on. The characters have little self-knowledge and even less knowledge of each other. Especially Gatsby- he lacks the insight to understand what is happening. He never truly sees either Daisy or himself, so blinded is he by his dream. The only characters who see, in the sense of “understand,” are Nick and Owl Eyes.

Essay About Lost Love in The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby: Lost Love

The novel, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a tragic love story

of lost love. Gatsby, the main character, based his love for Daisy on a

young girl he met before going off to war. In their time apart, Gatsby

strived to build the American dream while Daisy enjoyed the riches by those

who adored her. The character Daisy is described by Fitzgerald throughout

the novel as flighty and shallow. It is their difference in character and

devotion that sets them apart. Gatsby eventually realized Daisy could not

measure up to what he had envisioned as his perfect love.

As a young officer, Gatsby was impressed by what Daisy represented, old

money and a life full of luxuries. He fell deeply in love with the young

Daisy, and vowed to come back to her a wealthy man. While Gatsby went off

to the war Daisy continued in her artificial life. In Gatsby’s case,

distance made his heart grow fonder. It was evident that Gatsby followed

Daisy’s activities when he showed her the clippings on their first meeting.

“Look at this,” said Gatsby quickly. “Here is a lot of clippings -about

you.”(90) He knew what he needed to do to get Daisy back, even if it meant

making his money by illegal means. Daisy grew tired of pining for her

officer and soon her love was bought by a new suitor, Tom Buchanan, with a

$30,000 pearl necklace. Money was what Daisy desired.

James Gatz, was a poor farm boy who saw his life as living in poverty. He

knew he wanted more and worked hard to improve his life. Daisy grew tired of

waiting for him in their early relationship because other rich officers

pursued her. When they met again she was impressed with his wealth. His

dream for a better life gave him a sense of purpose. Daisy’s purpose in life

were material comforts and luxuries. Daisy’s empty existence and the people

she surrounded herself with was in contrast with Gatsby’s dreams, which gave

meaning to his own identity. Nick shows this when he says to Gatsby,

“They’re a rotten crowd,” I shouted across the lawn. “Your worth the whole

damn bunch put together.” (146)

Gatsby’s obsession for Daisy blinded him of what her true character was.

Gatsby loved the Daisy of the past. Daisy was a very shallow and

materialistic person who was only attracted to the wealth of an individual

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