April 1st, 2014
Hands on the Wheel
The freedom in self endowment has always been the fuel to the average American citizen and his drive toward success. In other words, Americans always strive to achieve the ever so revered American Dream. What is the American Dream? David Kamp describes the American Dream as "the idea rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."(Kamp). The dream lies deeply rooted in American society and the very mention of it lights a passionate fire in the hearts of American citizens everywhere. The idea behind the dream is that if an individual has sufficient willpower, he or she has a fair chance of achieving wealth as well as the freedom and happiness that come packaged with it. Essentially, it offers the opportunity of achieving spiritual and material fulfillment. It promises success at the cost of hard work and perseverance. Over time however, this idea of attaining success through hard work and perseverance has been skewed into one which exploits greed and carelessness and The Great Gatsby is an excellent affirmation of this. In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald derides the gradual corruption of hard work and perseverance in the American Dream by utilizing the motif of driving and incorporating it with the the ideas of greed and carelessness.
In The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald affiliates driving with greed and carelessness by revealing Jordan Baker's selfish motive while driving and Daisy's recklessness when driving. He uses the specific incident of when Daisy kills Myrtle to portray carelessness. After a heated argument between Tom and Gatsby, Gatsby and Daisy are involved in a serious car accident in which Daisy runs over Myrtle. When Gatsby inquires Nick about the incident later on, he reveals his and Daisy's involvement by saying, "'Yes', he said after a moment, 'but of course I'll say I was. You see, when we left New York she was very nervous and she thought it would steady her to drive--and this woman rushed out at us just as we were passing a car coming the other way. It all happened in a minute but it seemed to me that she wanted to speak to us, thought we were somebody she knew. Well, first Daisy turned away from the woman toward the other car, and then she lost her nerve and turned back. The second my hand reached the wheel I felt the shock--it must have killed her instantly.'"(Fitzgerald Ch 8). Daisy's carelessness when driving is explored during this scene and it has some serious repercussions as well. We see her carelessness exposed through her nervousness in phrases such as "she was very nervous". Her nerves were an endangerment to others and she knew this yet she rather selfishly chose to drive to "steady herself". Fitzgerald uses Daisy's carelessness to expose the flaw...