Freudian Theory In The Great Gatsby

1823 words - 8 pages

The most popular of F. Scott Fitzgerlad’s novels, ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a story of two men; the eponymous Jay Gatsby and the narrator, Nick Carraway. The novel is set in the fictional West Egg village in Long Island, New York. The story takes place during the ‘roaring twenties’. It was a time of glamour, money, and obsession with materialistic desires. People of that time felt that their own society’s wellbeing and moral stance was being sacrificed for the sake of money, sexual desires, and materialistic possession. I have therefore chosen Freudian psychoanalytic theory as the appropriate form to study to explore the wonder and depth of the characters in the ‘The Great Gatsby’. Psychoanalytic theory is defined as “a se of concepts and ideas that investigate the unconscious and conscious psychological thought process”. I feel like psychoanalytic theory is the most appropriate choice because it not only determines ‘the what?’ but also ‘the why?’. It offers insight into what makes people act like they do. Also, Fitzgerlad and Freud lived during the same time. Therefore, Fitzgerlad may potentially have been affected by Frued’s ideas and theories. Using a psychoanalytical form of study to analyze ‘The Great Gatsby will allow us to dig deep in the plot, and more importantly the characters. Psychoanalysis will allow us to explain every word, phrase, and sentence the character says, every one of their motives, and every one of their achievements can be traced back to their depths of their unconscious. In my extended essay, I will look act the role fear plays in causing the characters to act and think in certain ways, identify the motivations and drives behind the characters, and examine the Oedipal triangles and other Freudian concepts present in the novel. Examining the psychological aspects of Jay Gatsby will allow us to truly grasp and understands the events of the novel’s narrative progression.
‘The Great Gatsby’ was written in one of America’s most prosperous time, the roaring twenties (also known as ‘The Age of Excess’). During this time, the stock market exploded and thousands of Americans became wealthier than they ever imagined. Money became the main focus of everything at that time. Along with the excessive wealth and money came rapid social, artistic, and cultural changes. Many people felt that morals at that time were decaying and that people became obsessed with materialistic possession rather social and moral values. ‘The Great Gatsby’ was written during the Jazz Era and did a perfect job of reflecting the spirit of the time.
Jay Gatsby is a prime example of the American dream. He was wealthy, self-made, and part of what Fitzgerlad saw as a new generation that sought pleasure and power. Gatsby wanted to use his wealth to get the love and affection of his ex-girlfriend, Daisy Buchannan. Gatsby lost daisy when he left to fight in the war and came back to find her engaged to Tom Buchannan, a very rich man living in the same neighborhood...

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