Jay Gatsby, undoubtedly the most love-stricken character in The Great Gatsby, has shown moments of both hopeless romanticism and over-obsessiveness. He has based the past five years on a woman whom he has met only once and might never meet again. His unrealistic dream of someday courting this “golden girl” has clouded his mind and made him act only in pursuit of this fantasy.
Jay Gatsby is a pathetic character because he allowed himself to be consumed by his illusion that he and Daisy might ever end up together. “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay. ” A stalker is defined as a person who follows or observes a person persistently, especially out of obsession or derangement, Jay Gatsbys’ “scrapbook” with “ a lot of clippings” and pictures about Daisy shows that he has been following, and keeping track of, her movements for quite some time.
At this point in the story, the question of intent might come into play, a person who favored Gatsby as a romantic can argue that perhaps he meant to give the scrapbook as a gift to Daisy when he saw her again, however, there is also a more menacing interpretation of this event, a man sitting in his living room feverishly hunting through newspapers and magazines for a glimpse of, or a story about, his prey. His “collection” truly shows the depravity and desperation of a pathetic man.
Resorting to an attempt at bribery to get what he wants is another way for Gatsby to show that there is no limit to what he would do to meet Daisy again. Again, the argument could be made that Gatsby was simply trying to help a friend, yet if Nick did not have something he coveted, contact with Daisy, Gatsby never would have offered to help Nick “pick up a nice bit of money”. Nick may have denied Gatsbys’ help, but he did set up a meeting between Daisy and Gatsby. At Nicks’ house, before Daisy’s’ arrival, Gatsby is in a fervor trying to make the house acceptable for the meeting.
Perhaps this was an attempt to seem worthy of her attention but more likely, this was Gatsby trying to look more important than he actually is, as was his flashy introduction to his home. Trying too hard to impress someone is definitely a pathetic act. “I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake. ” – John D. Rockefeller. The same could be said about a person who devotes five years of his life on a longshot.
His dream is a longshot because in order for it to work, Daisy must be unhappy with her marriage enough to want to give up a life of luxury for a life of love. While she flirts with Gatsby, she is just doing it to get back at Tom for having an affair. While she may appear to be discontent with her marriage, she would never truly want to give up living in the lap of luxury. Everything Gatsby did in the past five years was based on the dream that he and Daisy would be together, a romantic gesture but in the end a pathetic decision for a pathetic man.
Courtney from Study Moose
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