The Magnetism Of Polar Opposites Essay

1864 words - 8 pages

How can a man entangled in the dangerous crimes of smuggling, so engrossed with his past love that he lost her, and shed his own blood due to a misunderstanding ever be forgiven? In other words, should he be condoned for his acts, or should he forever be in Hell and forgotten? One might acknowledge the fact that this man's past, behavior, and intentions are unknown, therefore standing in either a positive or neutral view. Another might add that sins can never be forgiven, no matter what reasons had caused them, leaning toward a negative standpoint. Jay Gatsby, a character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, is much like the preceding man described, having faced the shame and committing the same dishonorable acts, and is often criticized by those in a negative standpoint. However, within the text, Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel, plainly states, “Gatsby turned out all right at the end” (6). Nick knew all about the immoral deeds Gatsby had carried out, so how could Nick make this claim in honor of a dead man? The answer is quite simple: Nick realized Gatsby’s incorruptible dream was the most admirable feat out of all the characters in the book, something that not only made Gatsby respectable to Nick, but great.
Nick is the traditional realist, the only character with personal integrity. Nick has encountered many dreamers who have sought him as a confidant to their “intimate revelations” (6) and “secret griefs” (5) chiefly because of his nature to bras a tolerant good listener. After those encounters, he finds that these consultation of secrets “are usually plagiaristic and marred by obvious suppressions,” wanting “no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart” (6). Nick realizes all their secrets and dreams revolved around climbing the ladder of social status, obtaining money, and achieving fame, and he becomes “confused and [a] little disgusted” (24). Essentially, this exposure to the hungry pursuing led Nick to not seek out these extravagantly greedy dreams but to work hard enough in the bond business to humbly live in New York.
Nick is content with his average life until he meets his polar opposite, Jay Gatsby, at one of his parties. Though believing Gatsby is another contemptible, iconic dreamer of the Jazz Age, Nick is utterly drawn to Gatsby’s enriching charisma and charm:
He smiled understandingly—much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced—or seemed to face—the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just so far as you wanted to be understood, believed you as you would like to believe in yourself and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey. (52-53)
With this meeting, Nick's innocence slowly diminishes, igniting an internal...

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