Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby Essay

2929 words - 12 pages

Illusions and Reality in The Great GatsbyAccording to Cynthia Wu, no matter how many critical opinions there are on The Great Gatsby, the book basically deals with Gatsby's dream and his illusions (39). We find out from the novel that Jay Gatsby is not even a real person but someone that James Gatz invented. Wu also tells us that Gatsby has illusions that deal with romance, love, beauty, and ideals (39). Wu also points out that Gatsby's illusions can be divided into four related categories: he came from a rich upper class family, a never-ending love between him and Daisy, money as the answer to every problem, and reversible time. Through Nick's narrations we can really see who this Jay Gatsby is and the reality to his illusions, and from this we can make our own decision on who we think Jay Gatsby really is.The first memory upon which the narrator meditates on is the story behind Jay Gatsby's true identity: James Gatz-that was really, or at least legally, his name. He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career-when he saw Dan Cody's yacht drop anchor over the most insidious flat on Lake Superior. It was James Gatz who had been loafing along the beach that afternoon in a torn green jersey and a pair of canvas pants, but it was already Jay Gatsby who borrowed a rowboat, pulled out to the Tuolumne, and informed Cody that a wind might catch him and break him up in half an hour. (qtd. in Dillon 53)I agree with Nick when he tells us that Jay probably had the name ready for a long time. Jay couldn't accept himself for who he really was and couldn't accept his history for what it really was. Then it stands to reason that Nick is correct on page 104 when he states: Jay's imagination never accepted his parents for who they were. If Jay couldn't accept himself how was he going to accept anyone else? Nick summarizes Jay Gatsby by saying: "The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself" (Fitzgerald 104). Nick seems compassionate when he said that Jay invented the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen-year-old boy would invent (Fitzgerald 104). I think it would have to be a desperate and miserable seventeen-year-old boy to invent a person and take on that new identity. Nick supports me on this idea when he says: "But his heart was in a constant, turbulent riot" (Fitzgerald, 105). Nick goes on to say that Gatsby's thoughts of him himself haunted him in bed at night. The dreams Gatsby had were a beautiful hint of the unreality of reality they were "a promise that the rock of the world was found securely on a fairy's wing" (Fitzgerald 105).Andrew Dillon points out that James Gatz, the son of a ineffectual Midwestern farmer, is the son of God in his own self idealization of who he should be (54). We already know that his parents were poor and unsuccessful, and Gatsby couldn't accept them for that so he promotes his actual name to what he thinks...

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