The Great Gatsby

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 23 December 2016

The Great Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby, Nick is partially true that Gatsby comes from his Platonic conception of himself, as like the philosopher Plato, Gatsby believes he can only become his true self by cutting off ties with his parents. He does this by lying about his past, the source of his wealth and even his name. The reason for him doing so is to hide the shame of his past, and to be reunited with the symbol of wealth and success, Daisy. However, Nick’s views are biased and subjective, thus his observation of Gatsby is limited.

Gatsby also possesses certain fundamental traits that he couldn’t invent therefore he is not merely his own creation. Nick’s observations of Gatsby can be deemed somewhat true, as Fitzgerald’s novel offers sufficient evidence both supporting and denying his claims. Jay Gatsby created an idealised and perfected version of his life at the age of seventeen, and goes to a great effort to legitimise his stories. He does this by lying about his past, the source of his wealth and his identity.

He created many different stories to satisfy the expectations of those around him, but they would often contradict one other. Nick caught him in the middle of saying, “it took me just three years to earn the money that bought [his house]” and when Nick questions his previous statement, that Gatsby had inherited his money, he automatically replied, “I did, old sport… but I lost most of it in the big panic- the panic of the war. ” Nick deduces Gatsby is a fraud, but plays along with the lie, and pretends to questions nothing more of his past.

Tom Buchanan also suspects dishonesty, and confronts Gatsby by saying, “I picked him for a bootlegger the first time I saw him, and I wasn’t far wrong. ” The reader only starts to realise Gatsby’s false identity through the criticism of other characters throughout the novel. A name is a symbol of identity, therefore when Gatsby changes his name, it represents him cutting off ties with his parents and becoming a new person. Nick describes the transformation of, “James Gatz – that was really, or at least legally, his name.

He had changed it at the age of seventeen and at the specific moment that witnessed the beginning of his career. ” This change is the moment he invents his new self, one he had been planning to create over a long time. Gatsby’s past, his occupation and his name all create his identity, so when he decided to reinvent himself, he had to change everything that made him who he was. Gatsby’s goal throughout the novel is to be reunited with his one true love, Daisy, to hide the shame of his past.

He believes having her would be the ultimate identity transformation, which he required to leave his old, simple, boring life, and to live the life of luxury and extravagance he desired. Gatsby envies Tom, as he owns the symbol of wealth and success, Daisy. When Gatsby is describing Daisy he says, “Her voice is full of money. ” Nick realises that Gatsby is aware of Daisy’s materialism, but still wants to be with her, knowing that she is shallow and greedy. Instead of turning him off, the money in her voice is actually what he desires, as Gatsby is also obsessed with wealth and status.

Gatsby felt that he could never compete with Tom’s sophistication as “Old Money’, therefore instead of challenging him in that way, Gatsby introduces Daisy to a new form of wealth and extravagance, through his wild and lavish parties. Daisy is selfish and materialistic, which Gatsby is aware of and therefore only tries to win her over through wealth. Gatsby knew he’d have no chance with her as James Gatz, so by forming a new, rich, successful identity; he gave himself a chance at being with the girl of his dreams.

When speaking to Tom, Gatsby says, “She only married you because I was poor and she was tired of waiting for me. ” Gatsby’s belief in this statement is what truly motivated him to transform his identity, to try and impress Daisy with wealth and success. Daisy’s materialism becomes clear when she’s with Gatsby and sobs, “They’re such beautiful shirts… It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such beautiful shirts. ” At this point, Daisy wishes she had have married Gatsby, as his shirts symbolise the wealth and status she desired all along.

However she didn’t have the patience to wait for Gatsby, and therefore compromised with herself by marrying Tom. This not only encouraged Gatsby to ‘get rich quick,’ but it also became apparent to him that he had to have a significant change in character if he wanted to compete with ‘Old Money’ like Tom Buchanan. In The Great Gatsby, Nick is partially true that Gatsby comes from his Platonic conception of himself, as like the philosopher Plato, Gatsby believes he can only become his true self by cutting off ties with his parents.

He does this by lying about his past, the source of his wealth and even his name. The reason for him doing so is to hide the shame of his past, and to be reunited with the symbol of wealth and success, Daisy. However, Nick’s views are biased and subjective, thus his observation of Gatsby is limited. Gatsby also possesses certain fundamental traits that he couldn’t invent therefore he is not merely his own creation. Nick’s observations of Gatsby can be deemed somewhat true, as Fitzgerald’s novel offers sufficient evidence both supporting and denying his claims.

B

  • Subject:

  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 23 December 2016

  • Words:

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