The Normal Gatz Essay

1762 words - 8 pages

Qualities like absolute moral perfection prove unattainable throughout history, and they have no place in quality literature. No one relates to the main character that never lets his emotions get the better of him once in a while. Truly powerful characters require at least some degree of moral ambiguity. Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby engages in illegal liquor sales and business with the man who rigged the World Series, which combine with his purest of intentions and virtually universal kindness to create some definitely ambiguous morals. Due to that ambiguity, Gatsby’s character remains imperfect and one whom readers can entirely relate to, while promoting the prominent theme in the novel of the American Dream’s corruption by wealth.

Charismatic as Gatsby’s personality comes off, he attracted friends of every kind, with every kind of implication coming with them. Nick clearly considers Gatsby his best friend throughout the novel, notably remarking in the later portion of the book that “They’re a rotten crowd…You’re worth the whole damn bunch put together” (154). Nick said this after a particularly unfortunate series of events, which in the end proved the extent of his kindness and selflessness. He had risked everything he had, simply for one last push to try to get Daisy, and more or less failed. Then as Daisy drives away with him in the car, she hits and kills Myrtle Wilson, and Gatsby immediately decides to take the complete blame for it without a second thought. And after all of this, when he’s lost virtually everything he’s worked so long to attain, he only felt concern for Daisy, wanting her to call him. Compassion of that magnitude compelled Nick, Daisy, and many others to really care about him. On the other end of the spectrum, his skill in business earned him some hefty renown. He singlehandedly built quite a fortune, earned an impressive reputation, and joined up with some intriguing business partners. Not long after Nick first met Gatsby they went out to lunch together and met an interesting Jewish man named Meyer Wolfsheim. Nick immediately approached the man, who assumed that Nick needed a certain “business gonnegtion” (70), simply because he arrived with Gatsby. Before Nick could even manage to answer for himself Gatsby jumps in, answering for him “Oh, no…This is just a friend. I told you we’d talk about that some other time” (71). Immediately it becomes clear that Wolfsheim has some prior business connections with Gatsby. On its own, that would be no cause for alarm. Yet in not much time at all Gatsby tells Nick all about the mysterious Mr. Wolfsheim himself, describing him as “a gambler,” nonchalantly adding that “he’s the man who fixed the World’s Series back in 1919” (73). Suddenly connections with this man raise a lot of flags, as readers have just begun to discover the sort of illegal activities Gatsby’s been engaged in during his pursuit of wealth. This man most others find villainous, taking such a...

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