Nick’s observation that Gatsby is more worthy than the other characters in The Great Gatsby is true. At first he is hesitant to take a stand or to judge those with whom he comes into contact however, he begins to find everything about New York disgusting. Daisy’s inability to think about anyone else but herself and her wealth tarnishes her actions making her worthless however Gatsby’s dreams and aspirations make him a much better person. The Wilsons careless and arrogant personalities makes them apart of the rotten crowd, inferior to Gatsby who takes into account others. In addition, Gatsby’s ability to be loyal and great is far more apathetic than Jordan’s carefree, dishonest approach to life. Despite Gatsby’s wealth, he is very different to the rambunctious, loud and superficial people who attend his parties. Therefore, it is evident that Nick’s view is predominantly valid and true.
Daisy embodies a selfish and materialistic life whereas Gatsby has dreams and aspirations. Gatsby notes that Daisy’s voice is “full of money” which suggests she is like a physical object and can be attained. It also means that she does not represent a girl, but represents money. Fitzgerald intends to give an insight of the 1920’s and show how people were characterised by their social class and wealth. The term ‘selfish’ is used to describe how Daisy fulfils her own personal needs at the expense of others’. Daisy reveals her shallow obsession with materialism by crying over Gatsby’s shirts. As long as she owns “such beautiful shirts” it could be anyone she’s crying over. Gatsby’s willingness to make personal sacrifices for others elevates him to a greater level than Daisy.
The phrase ‘materialistic’ is used to show that Fitzgerald has intended to lead the readers into thinking that Daisy is associated with light, purity and innocence. When Nick first meets Daisy and Jordan, he describes them “like silver idols, weighing down their own white dresses against the singing breeze of the fans” The phrase ‘silver idols’ expresses the beauty of the two wealthy girls. The ‘singing breeze of the fans’ symbolizes the carefree nature they both possessed. Gatsby’s dream is to win Daisy’s love, which he believed he could accomplish however, Gatsby’s dream ‘died’. This reveals that it is evident that Daisy is selfish and materialistic, unlike Gatsby who works hard to reach his goals.
The Wilsons are apart of the “rotten bunch” because they are arrogant and careless but Gatsby behaves in a selfless and passionate manner. The word ‘arrogant’ describes Myrtle because she acts with arrogance when Tom who is richer and more “elegant” than her husband and in a higher social class put her in her place. The shabby, crowded apartment in New York where Tom, Myrtle, Nick and a few others decide to have a party is cluttered with over-sized furniture. This reflects Myrtles working class status, her lack of refinement and materialism. It also symbolises the obstacle that Myrtle is faced when trying to reach Tom and the tangled web of deceit that is her affair with Tom. The word ‘caring’ describes Gatsby, as he is very careful about women. “He would never so much as look at a friend’s wife.” This shows that he is not like everyone else and that he genuinely is a caring and compassionate character. Therefore, the Wilsons are apart of the “rotten crowd” and Gatsby is “worth the whole damn bunch put together”
Compared to Jordan’s inability to be honest and caring, Nick refers to Gatsby as being loyal and great. Nicks refers to Jordan as being “incurably dishonest”. Fitzgerald uses the word ‘incurable’’ to suggest that it is ‘never ending’ or ‘perpetual’. Jordan is constantly lying throughout the novel. She lies about various things and even about ruining a borrowed car. While on a visit to the city with Nick, Daisy, Tom and Gatsby, Jordan is driving recklessly. When Nick confronts her about it she simply states, “they’ll keep out of my way” This shows just how careless Jordan is and how she assumes that the whole world revolves around her. The word ‘great’ is used by Fitzgerald to display what Nick thinks of him despite his flaws and to show that Gatsby really is worthy.
Gatsby is ‘great’ because he takes initiative, is knowledgeable, works hard, is passionate, loyal and nice, has selfless actions and is romantic. Nick states “Gatsby turned out alright in the end… it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams…” This means that everything Gatsby did was pure. Everything he did and every move he made for all for the love of Daisy. The word ‘ alright’ implies that regardless of everything, he had a true heart and he went to extraordinary length to accomplish his dreams. Tom and the people with whom Gatsby associates with including Klipspringer and the party goers who took advantage of Gatsby’s hospitality and then showing him no respect are the “foul dust” that preyed on him. Evidently, this shows that Gatsby had a true heart whereas Jordan carried on living a careless and dishonest life.
Despite his wealth, Gatsby is very different to the superficial fakeness of his guests who attend his parties. He does not really mingle or mix with them. He tends to be distant and introspective rather than joining into the party. Gatsby is much more closed than his guests. Some of the rumours that are told about Gatsby are that “he once killed a man” that he “was a German spy in the war”, that he is involved in shady deals involving the smuggling of alcohol, and that he is a great hero of war. At Gatsby’s party, two of the girls were wearing yellow dresses and when Daisy attended Gatsby’s party, she was wearing a yellow dress.
The colour yellow symbolizes the flaws that the main characters begin to show throughout the novel. Yellow also represents the corruptness, moral decay, death and the false richness of Gatsby’s parties. Also, when talking to Pammy, Daisy states “Did mother get powder on your yellowy hair?” This ‘yellowy’ hair also categorises into the flaws of the main characters. The term ‘fakeness’ and ‘superficial’ is used by Fitzgerald to convey how Gatsby’s guests were. So many people attended these parties from all social classes. You do not need to be ‘artificial’ or ‘false’. Consequently, it is clear that people who attended Gatsby’s parties were distinguishably different to him.
In conclusion, Fitzgerald exposes readers to distinguish the differences between the ‘rotten crowd’ and ‘worthy’ and ‘great’ people. Despite Gatsby’s wealth and success coming from illegal and dishonest means this all becomes immaterial when we realise his dedication to his dream, his loyalty and his honesty. Thus, Gatsby is worth the whole damn bunch put together.
Courtney from Study Moose
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