After the events of this story have unfolded, the narrator Nick, focuses on the man most like himself; Gatsby. Both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatz hail from the mid-west, where morals and the right way of getting ahead are instilled into them. They travel to New York, where the morals are paper-thin and everything seems turned upside down. The saps with morals stay in the ashheaps while the careless, foolhardy upper society do what they please. Nick stays true to the mid-west morals of an earnest, hardworking living while Gatsby tries to be just like the others on East Egg.
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Nick says this of him, “Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but thats no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further….. And one fine morning-” (189). A central theme of the novel I think, is the idea that people arent satisfied with what they have, they are always going further and further, never knowing when to stop, and always striving for that bright star that “seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. ” (189). To Gatsby the green light symbolizes Daisy, Daisy in a ay represents her peers in the same social strata as her.
Daisy is a fool, living vicariously and so are the characters in this book. The green light represents the wild and recklessness of the times. These were times when women for the first time were drinking and smoking alongside the guys, their war was over and so were their troubles. The green light for them means go, after most wars the economy experiences a boom, this was no different. They are cocksure, thinking that whatever they do is right, and they always push on. They dont care what happens to others as long as they remain untouched and unrivaled.
This selfishness is shown in nearly all characters except Nick, who accepts his life and is satisfied. He works hard and scrapes by, but he is living the life he wants, “I am one of the few honest men that I have ever known. “(64). Hes sensible and thinks out his actions. He doesnt have the green gleam in his eye that everyone else seems to have. He is an observer to the situation, and when he talks of Gatsby believing in the Green Light, he sums up Gatsbys philosophy and possibly what was written in the back of his most recent edition of “Hopalong Cassidy”; the way to live his life dedicated to Daisy.
His whole life was devoted to re-wooing Daisy and finally have that “one fine morning” when she would be his completely. I do not think that he knew when to stop. Once Gatsby achieves his dreams and Daisy is now seeing him on a regular basis, he doesnt know what to do. This whole time he wanted her so much and he couldnt get her, he was dreaming. Dreaming that the green light would shine on him, and once it did, he couldnt help but go further, stretch his arms just a little further, and ask Daisy to leave her husband. On page 139 in the hotel scene Daisy says to Jay, “Oh, you want to much!
I love you know—isnt that enough? ” But for Gatsby it isnt enough, he wants more and more and really it is this dream of “one fine morning” that is the reason he is killed. He lives his life as a dream. He accomplishes the “American Dream” by coming from nothing and getting everything but all his profit go to Daisy, she is his dream all along, and it is from this situation that in the end he is killed, caught in the tangled web of the Buchanans marriage. Tom is a good example of not knowing when to stop. He was born into wealth and went to a prominent college.
His life is set up, he has wealth, a eautiful wife, a child, a lavish lifestyle, and no worries. His decision to have extra-marital affairs is a key example of “stretching his arms”, and indulging himself to the point of fallout. This is common among his peers, the rich New York crowd. Gatsby follows Daisy from the time he arrives back until the day he actually has his dreams come true and he meets her. She is symbolized by the green light at the end of her dock. To me, this green light is representative of not only Daisy, but of all the other people in her social class who love the color green as well, and happen to live on the East Egg.
I say they love the color green because all they are interested in is money. Money is an important factor in this novel. When Gatsby flaunts his money around he gets peoples attention. When he dies and can no longer shine his green light, the attention dies too. The New York society is very materialistic, and Gatsby has everything someone in a material world could want; a huge house, servants, lots of cars, fame, and extra money to throw around to parties and houseguests. He has everything except personal satisfaction. He knows that Daisy is the answer, and she is represented in the light.
In a way, the far-off green light represents all that is unobtainable to Gatsby. It is his pipe dream. He has already conquered a material world, and all that drives him in this novel has to do with him gaining the green light and having Daisy shine from his dock. I think Daisy can easily be compared to her peers; the kind of people that attend Gatsbys parties. They are driven by “green”. They love money and are attracted to anyone that has it and is willing to spend it. This can be seen on page 50 when Nick stumbles into the library where Owl Eyes is admiring
Gatsbys books, “Its a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me. This fellas a regular Belasco. ” He doesnt even know the man, “I was brought by a woman named Roosevelt. Ive been drunk for about a week now. ” (50) He doesnt know Gatsby, but he likes him none the less based on his shallow values. Owl Eyes is a common man in this society and his words give us insight to these people. They dont care whos house they party at, they are wild, unbridled, and reckless people who are living their lives for fun. This is how Gatsby had it planned.
He hopes from the very first party that Daisy would e one of the people stumbling to his front door, she would see him, fall in love again, and she would be his in every sense, just like it should have happened. In a sense hes trying to bring the glow of the East Egg over to the West. It is not only Daisy who has this green light, most all the people that live on East Egg do as well. They go-go-go, and never look back. Theyre going too fast, there is no way that this can last; hence the number of wrecks and collisions in this book.
When Owl Eyes crashes his car, they ask him how it happened, “Dont ask me, I know very little about driving-next to othing,” (59) is how he replies. They dont ever realize that they could learn from their actions. They do something, it happens, and they say, “At first I din notice wed stopped. ” (60) Then they gear up and go-go-go some more. Its very easy for these people to put the blame somewhere else, and if they cant think of a reason this doesnt seem to bother them. Daisy kills a lady, sees her lover killed, and then takes a vacation to reset and we can only assume that it will continue.
Daisys light will continue to shine, constantly interrupting the lives of the people she comes across. Daisy in is a ituation that is comfortable for her. She has security, a family, and no real worries. It is her way of being a “beautiful little fool” (21) that allows her this freedom. Tom goes out with other women, abuses Daisy, and she doesnt do a thing about it. Daisy has her green light shining, and it is accomplished by being a fool. She doesnt seem to register that this is an unhealthy marriage, all she lives for is her easy, lethargic way of life.
When things get rough, all she has to do is hide in the shadow of her “great big hulking specimen” (16) of a husband, Tom. When Daisy hits Myrtle she runs back to Tom nd everything straightens itself out, and even when they were in Chicago we were made to believe that something of this sort might have happened before when Daisy says to Tom, “Youre revolting, do you know why we left Chicago? Im suprised they didnt treat you to the story of that little spree. ” (139) It seems Daisys light will always be shining, drawing people into the tangled marriage of her and Tom.
Gatsby in some way knows Daisy is materialistic. He tells Nick, “Her voice is full of money. ” Nick agrees and writes, “It was full of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, the ingle of it, the cymbals song of it… High in a white palace the kings daughter, the golden girl.. “(127) He has worked to where hes at just so he could show Daisy how much money he has and it helps him a lot. Daisy, after touring the mansion starts to cry, “It makes me sad because Ive never seen such-such beautiful shirts before. (98)
He has finally shown her what he has and what he can give her, and Daisy decides that she will make her move in the chess game that her and her husband seem to be playing by having an affair as well. It seems to me that in some sense that to the Buchanans Gatsby and Myrtle re mere playthings, there for their personal entertainment. Im sure that the green light did not shine only for Gatsby, Myrtle was no doubt caught by this beacon in Tom. To Myrtle Tom glows, he stinks of the fact that she hopes Tom will be her knight in shining armor.
Myrtle hopes to marry Tom, and shes sure that he would, except, “(Daisys) a Catholic and they dont believe in divorce. ” (38). All Tom wants is to live vicariously, he cares practically nothing about Myrtle when compared to the way she feels about him. To her hes the answer and not even abuse will drive her away. Myrtle, in search of her”one fine morning” finds only death, resembling Gatsby. She is mesmerized by Toms empty promises, similar to Daisy and Jays relationship. Gatsby is hypnotized by Daisys light as well.
He hadnt seen or talked to Daisy since the day he left Louisville. All he has is the idea of Daisy. This idea that he has that she is the most perfect, best woman in the world is somehow pinnacled in the green light. On page 25, “he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. ” Gatsby is entranced by this green light because it symbolizes Daisy. All he has is knowing that she is over there somewhere because the light at the end of her dock is shining.
He doesnt know her situation, if shes still the same person he fell in love with, or even if she would talk to him. The only thing he knows is that shes there and he still loves her. Gatsby and Myrtle both try to break into the closed, old-money society of the East Egg. They dont realize that some dreams, no-matter how you try, come true. America was based on the dream that anything can come true and Gatsby swallows this idea whole. In the end he went to far and it meant his demise.