Escapism has been used as a theme in literature ever since The Epic of Gilgamesh, and it comes in many forms such as mental and physical. People use escapism to help them cope with the many struggles they encounter in life. Escapism, while although comforting and stress reducing, is ultimately useless, and it will only make one's problems worse. The Great Gatsby, and the Glass menagerie strongly illustrate the theme of escapism. The two works show that escapism is a highly destructive form of coping with issues, that only worsens one's predicament and metaphorically digs them a deeper hole, as demonstrated by the characters found in the two works, along with their actions and flaws, as well as escape symbolism. In many cases, escapism will lead to a characters downfall, which is precisely what occurs with Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby.
In The Great Gatsby the character Jay Gatz, or ...view middle of the document...
”(Fitzgerald 104). From this it is plain to see that even from a young age Gatsby is trying to escape from reality, so much so in fact that he goes to the extent of imagining himself with different parents. In order to escape from his past, Gatsby reinvented himself. Around the time he started to gain his wealth he changed his last name from Gatz to Gatsby, he tells false stories about how he obtained his wealth, and of course he lies about where he is from. By doing this, he is mentally escaping from his frustrations with his status in the world. However, Gatsby's downfall lies within the main reason he attempts to escape reality, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby desperately longs to return to the time that he first met Daisy, however for many reasons that could never happen. Not only is Daisy married, but she is also a mother, something that Gatsby never even acknowledges. He is trying to escape his hopeless situation with Daisy mentally and emotionally.
“He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was…” (Fitzgerald 117).
Instead of facing his issues and accepting reality, he is desperately striving for a way to escape back to his past. Towards the end of the novel Gatsby becomes so blinded by his fantasies of escaping his currently reality that his actions become very drastic and stupid:
“You don’t understand,” said Gatsby, with a touch of panic. “You’re not going to take care of her any more.”
“I’m not?” Tom opened his eyes wide and laughed. He could afford to control himself now. “Why’s that?”
“Daisy’s leaving you.” (Fitzgerald 140)
Not only are Gatsby's actions here selfish, as they're sole purpose is for angering Tom, but confronting Tom like this undoubtedly ruins what little family relationship Tom and daisy had left. The last mistake Gatsby makes that ultimately leads to his demise would be the Incident with Myrtle,