Profit And Compassion: How They Affect Relationships In The Great Gatsby

1360 words - 5 pages

Imagine walking through the crowded streets of New York, surrounded by dreamers and those willing to allocate their money at the tip of a hat; Passing cake eaters or "ladies men" driving the latest motor cars and women dressed in their finest attire. It's no wonder Scott Fitzgerald set his novel, "The Great Gatsby" in the decade that earns the title, "The Roaring Twenties." Throughout the novel, there is an evident comparison between the themes of compassion and profit. Compassion, known as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others, is compared to profit, or a financial gain. Fitzgerald's characters all show a willingness to forgive and a stubbornness not to, but when the factor of money is involved, the story changes. The archetypal "happy ending" to this honest novel is unattainable due to the factor of money and a forgiveness that could happen, but does not. Fitzgerald demonstrates the difference between compassion and profit by vividly describing "The Roaring Twenties" and how the age of Fitzgerald's characters is disillusioned by the lavish lifestyles of the jazz age, which causes relationships to be torn apart and the "valley of ashes" to pile higher.

"Her face was sad and lovely with bright things in it, bright eyes and a bright, passionate mouth, but there was an excitement in her voice that men who had cared for her found difficult to forget." (pg 8) Daisy Buchanan, a young, naive, woman who finds excitement in the lavish lifestyles of the jazz age, has an aura of luxury, grace, and charm. This aura causes Gatsby, whom immediately falls in love with Daisy as a young military officer before leaving to fight in World War I, to lie about his background in order to convince her that he could provide her with the exciting life she yearns for. Daisy promises to wait while he leaves for war, but breaks the promise by marrying Tom Buchanan, an arrogant man with a solid social position and approval of her parents. From that moment on, Gatsby dedicates himself to winning Daisy back by acquiring millions of dollars through the illegal act of bootlegging. He purchases a gaudy mansion on West Egg and throws lavish weekly parties. "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon?" cried Daisy, "and the day after that, and the next thirty years?" "Don't be morbid, Jordan said, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." (pg 74) "Daisy lives with a perpetual illusion of recreation, transparent even to herself; she supposes that the meaning of life can be restored or revived by proper superficial ministrations, as rhinestones are added to an old gown." Hobby, Blake Bloom, Harold "Rebirth and Renewal (pg 97) Daisy's life did start over again with the exciting love between her and Gatsby. Gatsby's death takes place on the first day of autumn, representing the end of the exciting life Daisy yearns for. This is when "Gatsby becomes Daisy's victim, and a victim of the elusive American Dream." -"The American Dream"...

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