The Reason for the Past
In the words of Jan Gildewell, “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest, that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.” Jay Gatsby in the book The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, didn’t only cling to the past and forget about the future but also tried to recreate it. There are symbols from Gatsby’s past that display his yearning for a different life all through this piece of literature. Gatsby’s mind can only conceive one way to change his current and undesired path of existence, and that single idea is to recreate and modify his past. In the act of trying to bring back the past he ends up dead.
Before the book actually introduces Gatsby it shows a symbol of his desire to change what is history, although the reader doesn’t recognize it until the end of the book. That sacred idol is mentioned, but not noted, for the first time when Nick arrives home and sees Gatsby for the first time, a well dressed young man standing on his lawn and then it reads, “—he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.”(Page 25-26)
The next bit of significant history that can be found is the first of the many flashbacks that symbolize the precise moment Gatsby wants to relive. “When I came opposite her house that morning her white roadster was beside the curb, and she was sitting in it with a lieutenant I had never seen before. They were so engrossed in each other that she didn’t see me until I was five feet away…”(Page 79) Right then it is rather obvious that they had some sort of a connection that was special. There is something about this meeting that says the time they spend together is sacred and not just some ordinary relationship but one that may have a future.
“The officer looked at Daisy while she was speaking, in a way that every young girl wants to be looked at sometimes, and because it seemed romantic to me I have remembered the incident ever since. His name was Jay Gatsby and I didn’t lay eyes on him again for over four years…”(Page 80) By this passage a person can conceive that Gatsby was in love with Daisy. Just by the way he looked at her tells that she was something very special in his life and in the future he would hold the memory of her close to his heart.
“ ‘Did I have to know all of this before he could ask such a little thing?’ ‘He’s afraid. He’s waited so long. He thought you might be offended. You see he’s a regular tough underneath it...