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The Great Gatsby - Essay Example

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Instead of buying fulfillment, joy, and new life, Gatsby’s wealth ended up shrouding him in loneliness, despair, emptiness, and ultimately, death. Gatsby’s long lost love, Daisy Buchanan, also chased after the futile illusion that money and social stature would bring her happiness, and her delusions of grandeur landed her under the same pall of desperation and isolation in which Gatsby found himself. After a close analysis of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, it becomes quite evident that he uses various characters to show how affluence and the quest to gain it - the American dream - can become the very vehicle that ushers in misery. On the outside, Jay Gatsby is the epitome of the American success story - a man who grew up from a modest beginning and worked hard to make his once unreachable dreams become a reality. What many would call a healthy ambition to gain what he wants, is actually a compulsion of Gatsby’s - one to secure the woman of his dreams, who he sees as attainable only through his acquired wealth. After being away for years at war and making a fortune, Gatsby comes back to find that his unrequited love had married. But Gatsby believed that Daisy’s moral commitment was no obstacle for his higher stature, which he believes has earned him the ticket he needs to finally gain the ultimate object of his desire. One landmark event in the novel symbolizes Gatsby’s ultimate acquisition, “He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God,” (Fitzgerald 110). Gatsby had waited his entire life for this moment, and this kiss served to him as being an eternal seal of success that would make Daisy his: “Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete” (111). But the only thing that made this transformative kiss possible was the material and status gains Gatsby had earned, as he believed that the love he had for Daisy before the war was not enough to win her over or prove his worth. Because Gatsby had played the game of consumerism and acquisition for so long, this episode proved to be more of a corporate takeover than an emotional experience. Consequently, the reader soon finds out that power and money are not resources from which love can be built, but rather, mechanisms that work to destroy it. The deteriorating effects of money and power are quite evident in Daisy, as well. She did not totally fall for Gatsby until he came back as a millionaire. Once he embodied the image of success, Daisy believed Gatsby now provided for her the ticket to happiness, exuding more prestige than her husband ever could. The author shows Daisy’s materialistic bent on and obsession with wealth and status when describing her thoughts about the “old money” and “new money” districts where she lived, “She was appalled by West Egg, this unprecedented ‘place’ that Broadway had begotten upon a Long Island fishing village - appalled by its raw vigor that chaffed under the old euphemisms and by the too obtrusive fate that herded its inhabitants along a shortcut from nothing to nothing,” (Fitzgerald 107). Here, the reader can see Daisy’s utter distaste for the regions that did not fit in with the economic grand scheme of things. The money that she had bought into through marriage was not as appetizing as the fresh money that Gatsby so flamboyantly threw around ...Show more
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Summary

Name here Professor English 16 October 2012 The Great Irony Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is based in the “The Roaring Twenties,” a period which will forever be known for its materialistic opulence and extravagance, and, ironically, also for it moral decadence and depravity…
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