Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby Essay

1170 words - 5 pages

Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby utilises the interaction between Jay Gatsby and his dreams, to accentuate and explore relevant ideas. As a result, Gatsby’s antagonistic dreams and materialistic values portray how Gatsby’s character has developed and portrayed before and after his death, in contrast to the protagonist who is Gatsby’s character and personality. This is because it is his dreams and ideals that blind him from conceiving the idea that he is an unaccepted individual in American society and that he is inferior to the other citizens of West Egg; the outcome of this is his death at the end of the novel.
Forbidden love is explored by Gatsby’s misunderstanding of why he cannot fall in love with Daisy, because it is almost as he perceives society to be egalitarian and not hierarchical. This is shown by vivid imagery.
‘He stretched out his arms towards the dark water in a curious way … a single green light, minute far away, that might have been the end of a dock?’ (Fitzgerald, 2010, p. 25)
Gatsby ‘stretched out his arm’, to grasp the ‘green light’, which is an inanimate representation of Daisy, or more significantly his ideal perception of society. The colour ‘green’ infers that Gatsby’s addiction is chronic: he cannot live without her, and is very distressed as a cause of this. From a social viewpoint, ‘green’ also represents Daisy’s innate wealth. Additionally, the stationary ‘dock’ shows that reality is still and that he will never form a relationship with Daisy or anyone in West Egg. However, ‘minute’ reinforces this because it represents that his past love is ‘far away’ and will never be in Gatsby’s hands.
Furthermore, the materialism demonstrated by Gatsby tendency to hold extravagant parties, represents the following two lifestyles: those who are from new wealth and those from old wealth. It can be argued that the party described below is fake and not as glamorous as it may seem to the reader.
‘The lights grow brighter as the earth lurches away from the sun, and now the orchestra is playing yellow cocktail music and the opera of voices pitches is a key higher’ (Fitzgerald, 2010, p. 42)
For example, surrealism is illustrated by the ‘lights’, which depict Gatsby’s blindness from the truth; the narrator’s over-pompous tone infers how lavish and extravagant the lifestyles of the rich were in the 1920s, as a cause of this. However from a reader’s perspective the image is almost sickening, because it represents how reckless, arrogant and selfish they were. Besides this, the ‘yellow cocktail music’ emulates individuals who were returning from war, into a corrupt society, which was regulated by an individualist government: ‘That government is best, which governs least’ (Thoreau.eserver.org, 2014). Consequently, the jubilant parties are a metaphor for the social structure created after the First World War, caused a very significant sub-division between those who had fought and the rich, who were selfish...

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