The Great Gatsby is a novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it was published for the first time in 1925. The Novel is based on four peoples lives, and how they collide and basically create a huge unnecessary mess.
My impressions from all of the main characters are mainly that all four are quite selfish. I think Jay Gatsby is a selfish man in the regards that all he thinks about and wants to work for is to get Daisy back into his life, while she is married with a child and really is not in any hurry to change that life. As for Daisy I see her as a smart dumb woman. I think she knows exactly how to manipulate her husband and Jay in order to get what she wants. This is only disturbed when Jay starts demanding her opinions of Tom, and his need for her to say she doesn’t love Tom comes along.
When it comes to Tom, he is simply put a gross and toxic masculine man. Him and Jay end up in this passive aggressive fight over Daisy, and I believe that Tom was charged for this fight simply to claim his dominance over Jay and Daisy. All Tom wants is to live his life as an overly masculine entitled pig as freely as before. That is before Jay came along to ruin his version of the American dream. Nick, on the other hand, is selfish in the regards that he watches his back a lot more than he watches Daisy’s. At least in my opinion. He enables Daisy and Jay into doing their naughty business, when I believe he should have gotten some sense into Daisy about her cheating. He is after all the closest family member in Daisy’s life at the time.
I think Jay and Tom sees each other as weak and powerless, when in fact they are both fools and embarrassing, referring to the fight they have early in the story over Daisy, in which Jay demands she tell Tom she does not and have never loved him. I think Daisy loves both Tom and Jay despite their faults and wrongdoings seeing as she knows Tom is cheating on her, and Jay’s unattractive obsession with getting her back and nearly forcing her to do so. She probably respects Nick though, as I have not noticed her messing with him as badly as she has with Tom and Jay, if she does use him it has only been to meet Jay in private during Jay’s party in his secret garden. Nick is the only one who I believe is not perceived as a very bad and partial person by most of them. The exception being Tom, seeing as Nick basically is Jay’s accomplice and paves the way for Daisy and Jay’s very unhealthy love-life, again referring to the secret garden Jay, him and Daisy went to during Jay’s party.
I think the opinions change a little bit, but more clearly between Daisy and Jay. At first sight after seeing each other after all those years apart they seem mesmerized, but later in the story after Jay’s obsession comes through more clearly to her, she feels he is too demanding. He asks too much of her, and so she runs away in a car, and we all know how that ended…
During John Greens crash course on the novel, he mentions the big symbolistic use of the color yellow. And after he stated that, I saw it very clearly how Fitzgerald has tried to alter our view on the golden color and its meaning. Usually gold, or sometimes yellow, will symbolize wealth, but he kind of criminalize the color by painting it over negative symbols, such as the car Myrtel gets ran over with, parts of his mansion which he bought only to force Daisy into and so on. I think Fitzgerald does this because he wants to shine a light on the spoiled rich people and how they get away with anything by just waving some cash in front of the world’s eyes. Maybe he wants to show us that the top of the food chain is not all it is cut out to be?
I think the theme in the novel is mainly selfishness. The novel seems to portray these four characters in maybe the worst ways it could. Fitzgerald does not seem to want them to be likeable. Nick is the most likeable character of all of them, but personally I do not connect very well to him, as I perceive him to mostly just act as a robotic narrator. Maybe it is just me struggling to understand the text, but I do not think any of the characters act out of anything than selfishness in most cases. You have for example Daisy, who refuses to choose between Tom and Jay. And Jay only wants what he decides is his to take: Daisy. Tom wants Daisy as well, but I am convinced this only is because he cannot take the embarrassment from being abandoned by her, rather than his love for her.
This text is very different from a Victorian novel in my opinion. I think a novel during the Victorian era usually is about a random citizen who does not really stand out, and the novel will just tell us about their life, their happiness and their struggles. After that it is usually “the end”. The Great Gatsby on the other hand builds up this tension. From the very beginning Gatsby is portrayed to be a mysterious man, who have done many unbelievably great things. He blends in, but at the same time he does not. As John Green said, he is a man who owns a pool, but he does not swim in it, and he throws great parties though he never drinks. Then again, we do get to know that all of his parties are not for fun, but for Daisy.
The American dream is supposed to basically have a life where everything goes your way and you have “it all”. “It” being wealth, a nice home, a great family with good children, a stable job and so on. I think the American dream has been viewed the same since forever. When you speak of the American dream you understand what people mean, but today the dream might actually be even bigger considering that we have had huge modern changes happen since the 1920’s. For example, the ideal “American dream” home is very modern and has fancy technology built into it like clap on light, spa’s, a massive garage for your cars, etc.
To me the theme is revealed when Nick moves in next to Gatsby and starts drooling over Gatsby’s mansion. I think this is where the first selfishness starts to show itself. Nick seems to heavily wish for the life he pictures Gatsby is living.
I have heard the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is similar but I do not know what it is about unfortunately. I thought the obsessive love between Jay and Daisy were similar to Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” after Green mentioned it during the crash course I watched, but I do not have many thoughts on that either.
The Great Gatsby is a very interesting story to me, as I have been in an interactive play about the novel and seen the movie. The story annoys me and angers me, but that is kind of the charm with it. I think it is written to be hated, but as we all know; if a book makes you feel something, then it is not really a bad book.