The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I choose this book because I had it in my bookshelf for a long time, but never found time to read it. I had no expectations of this book because I had never heard anything about it, and the summary on the back was un-descriptive. In this paper I will accurately and specifically go into the characters of the book, and present the themes, motifs and symbols of The Great Gatsby.The Great Gatsby has five important characters, all which play very different and crucial roles to the story. Tom, Daisy, Jordan and Gatsby are the characters who are rich, indulgent and selfish (Homework…). Nick is the narrator as well as the only one who leaves a modest live, and seems to have a moral compass. I found the characters in The Great Gatsby exaggerated and unrealistic. The group of rich people had great drive, but all had no conscience or morals. Nick is the most morally sound of the group, seemingly because his lack of riches (The Great Gatsby).
The main character of the book is also the inspiration of the title, Jay Gatsby (SparkNotes…). He is a complicated character and we get to know him at many different stages of his life. We meet him as extravagantly rich and successful Gatsby, (Ross). He has the means to have extravagant parties every Saturdays, but he seems to be desperately searching for something. We learn about the history of Gatsby When learn that at one point he was called James Gatz (The Great Gatsby). He was poor and dreamed of the day he would have all the money he wanted.
He fell in love with Daisy before leaving to fight in the war, but the pressure of parents and society were so great to marry someone in her ‘class’, she broke and married Tom. When Gatsby returned and realized Daisy had married, he was heartbroken. He worked for Dan Cody; a bootlegger involved with illegal things. Gatsby gets into the business and makes his fortune (NovelGuide. com). We learn that Gatsby has parties only because he knows that Daisy lives across the lake and hopes against odds that she will stumble into one and they will be reunited.
We see that his moral code is also skewed when he has nothing against having an affair with Daisy. By the end of the story, we conclude that Gatsby is innocent dreamer who puts to much faith in people. He believes that Daisy is flawless, and all she does is disappoint him (SparkNotes…). His trust of Daisy and of unattainably dreams ultimate leads to his death (Homework…). The main theme of The Great Gatsby is the disintegration of the American dream in a time of major economic prosperity (SparkNotes…).
Although the twenties were a time of wealth, parties, and pleasure; Fitzgerald is showing the moral corruptness of the culture as a whole. Another crucial theme in this book is class of peoples. Daisy marries Tom instead of Gatsby because of his position and wealth. She loves Gatsby, but she would rather have money and a good reputation (Homework…). Jordan and Nick try to have a relationship but it doesn’t work because their differences in class. Jordan follows in Daisy’s shoes and has a “shotgun” wedding to a rich man instead of Nick.
There are two main motifs if this book. There are two peninsulas just outside New York which are crucial to this story, West Egg and East Egg. The East Egg is where the wealthy and “old aristocrats” live (SparkNote…). Daisy, Tom and Jordan live there. Nick and Gatsby live on West Egg; this is where the newly rich live. These are the showy rich who the East Egg people look down on. The geography of the country is also important. We know this by how the book highlights the differences between living out West and in the East.
The East is grouped with New York and represents the moral decay of the wealthy while the West is seen as a more traditional and conservative which values morals and truth (SparkNotes…). We see two main symbols in this book. When Nick first sees Gatsby, he doesn’t introduce himself because Gatsby is staring intensely across his lake at a green light. We later learn that that light is on Daisy’s dock, and that Gatsby watches it to feel connected with her. This shows how he looks forward in his life, and believes in his dream. He has drive to get what he wants, without being afraid to work and strive for it (SparkNotes…).
There is a billboard at a garage in the Valley of Ashes (the road between East and West Egg) that has giant spectacled eyes painted on. These are the eyes of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg, and are an ad for his practice. These eyes watch all the characters at different times and may represent the eyes of God (SparkNotes…). We see this because they make Tom uncomfortable when going to visit his mistress and because a man points to them saying, “God sees everything” (128). Although no one is ever punished, these eyes are the reminder of guilt for characters at different times (Homework…).
There is no obvious spirituism to show a fear of, or lack of fear, in a god. Though not specially shown, the lack of morals shows the characters lack of trust in God. All wealthy characters have carelessness for others. When Nick tells Jordan she is an bad driver and should stay off the roads because she will hurt other drivers she says, “they’ll keep out of my way” (63). When Daisy hit Tom’s mistress with her car, she did not even attempt to go back and see the damage she did, just drove on like nothing happened.
The rich can afford to run away from their problems– so they no longer have the necessity for god when they can solve all there problems. This paper accurately went into the characters of the book, and presented the themes, motifs and symbols of The Great Gatsby. I did not enjoy this book because the plot was slow and the storyline weak. This book was hard to identify with because it was in such a different time then I live. I didn`t enjoy this book and would not recommend it to anyone.