Essay, Research Paper: Great Gatsby

Literature: The Great Gatsby

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Mr. Gordan, an esteemed English teacher, once said "Literature is
Life". I had not been able to grasp the reality of those words until I read
The Great Gatsby . After reading The Great Gatsby, I understand that literature
is written through inspiration from our daily lives. In this novel, F. Scott
Fitzgerald portrays the themes of morality and life versus illusion. Through his
excellent writing techniques, Fitzgerald reduces most of the characters of the
novel as seemingly obsessed with material possessions, petty, and selfish.
Theses characterizations are portrayed because of the realness of human nature.
Fitzgerald uses contrasting morals and values of the characters to show the true
disparity in human nature. Nick’s characteristics are completely incompatible
with Tom’s. Since Nick has a strong foundation and is honest, he is thus very
faithful. His faithfulness and loyalty is apparent when he attends and organizes
Gatsby’s funeral. On the other hand, Tom is unfaithful and dishonest. He is
dishonest with Daisy and Myrtle. He also shows his unfaithfulness when he is not
present at the birth of his daughter. In addition, Fitzgerald also uses Tom and
Gatsby to show the sentimental disparity. Gatsby is a dreamer and a romantic
man, who by following his dreams, went from rags to riches. He is proud of the
fact that he has been able to accumulate his wealth independently, despite the
fact that it is hinted that much of his money was earned illegally. Tom, on the
other hand, is a realist and a straightforward man. He does not dream, as Gatsby
does; he merely acts on his instincts. He has not earned his great wealth: he
has inherited it. In spite of the fact, that all of the main characters in The
Great Gatsby have very different personalities; they are however all affected by
money. Some characters, like Gatsby and Tom Buchanan, have money, and are very
expressive with it. Other characters, such as Myrtle, lust for money.
Essentially being of the middle class, Myrtle's attraction to Tom is not based
on love or affection. Rather, Tom represents something that Myrtle has never had
: endless wealth; and with this Myrtle correlates happiness. Fitzgerald uses the
lust for money in his novel because it is one thing that almost everybody in the
world lusts for. He also tries to use the prejudices against rich as being
flamboyant and superficial to create a contempt against Tom Buchanan and Daisy.
However, these prejudices might have some truth or reality to them as Fitzgerald
shows it in the end through Nick’s judgment. Fitzgerald also adds a dash of
reality to his novel when Gatsby doesn’t achieve his dream of winning Daisy
back from Tom. In this case, the strong, bullying character of Tom represents
reality, and with his powerful nature he easily squashes any hopes that Gatsby
may have of a relationship with Daisy. This shows that sometimes dreams don’t
come true, as opposed to the fairy tale version of " …. and they lived
happily everafter". Although, Fitzgerald may despise all that the American
dream stands for, he more importantly illustrates that it is not always easy to
obtain it. The novel ends with the death of Gatsby. This may seem surprising to
the reader, as Fitzgerald seems to have built Gatsby up as being one of the true
heroes of the novel. However, Fitzgerald understands that reality is often very
harsh to dreamers, a central quality in Gatsby's character. The death of Gatsby,
and the unaffected life of Tom after both Gatsby's and Myrtle's death is
testament to the fact that illusion is often shattered when confronted with
reality. Rather than this fact detracting from Gatsby's character; the reader,
however, supports the image of Gatsby all the more: a man who has died while in
pursuit of something worthy. This alternative is far better than any other
solutions. If Gatsby had not died, then he would have been desperate and
desolute. In addition, Tom would have had the upper hand and would have only
enlarged his own ego. Fitzgerald ends the novel with another reality. He shows
that Gatsby’s life had no worth if measured with how many real
"friends" he had. In the end, Gatsby died without having the lust of
his life. In the end, people who stuck by him where the ones that he used and
abandoned. His friendship with Nick was only based on the fact that Nick was
Daisy’s cousin. He also abandoned his father and the family name for the lust
for the money. In conclusion, life is short and " … you can’t live
forever!"

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