In life, the way a person is raised reflects their future self. When you earn money by hard work you learn to respect others and the true value of money. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby is a mysterious character who comes off as one person, but is someone completely different. He encounters battles with love and develops his only real relationship with Nick, who stays with him through everything. Gatsby is a materialistic, corrupt racketeer whose immorality leads him to his untimely/imminent demise.
Gatsby has this extreme idealism that he bases his life off of and when he comes back to reality he faces struggles in the real world. After being brought up in a rough and poor family, Gatsby sees Dan Cody, a millionaire, who he now aspires to be. He has a sudden change of heart and it is said of him that “Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his platonic conception of himself”(Fitzgerald 98). He looked up to Dan Cody and the life that he lived. Gatsby thought he could be just like him, which is not a bad thing to aspire to.
Jay went on to change his name thinking that he could be a totally different person. This is horrible because he does not see the struggles and obstacles he would face in order to get where he wants to be. Nick also mentions that he was “the son of God” which is relating himself to someone so impeccable and showing that he wants to aspire to do something with his life. This leads to his downfall because he is creating such high standards to live up to. So that when he does not reach those goals and does not live up to the life he wanted, he becomes disappointed with himself.
Gatsby wanted the perfect life with the love of his life and The American Dream was seen in the eyes of many. It is said that “contrary to what they believe their behaviors and decisions they make only leave them with a false perception of this lifestyle”(St. Rosemary Educational Institution). Gatsby is living in a fantasy world that he has not realized will not come true which leads him to take risks and ends in a bad situation that leads to his death. Also, Gatsby was very money oriented. He always saw himself as someone who is higher than others and wanting to live the American Dream.
Based on the opinion of Aleksandra Kovrlija, “the view of the American Dream has been transformed from the ideal dream to a materialistic dream”. (Kovrlija)Gatsby soon began to think that life revolves around money and that money can buy just about anything, including love. Which comes to disappoint him when he realizes he can not buy Daisy’s love. Gatsby sees Daisy as “… perfection, which is expressed in his capacity for idealizing himself and Daisy to an extreme degree” (Mitchell). This once again shows how he wanted what he could not have.
He is so focused on getting Daisy to love him that he does not realize that she will never love him again like she did before. Gatsby thought that what he had with Daisy prior to his war days would one day come true again. While Gatsby had been waiting for Daisy after the war, Daisy had moved on. When Gatsby’s name was brought back up to Daisy she hesitated and said, “in the strangest voice that it must be the man she used to know”(Fitzgerald 77). This line is crucial because of how much it says about how Daisy really felt about Gatsby.
It is now shown that she nearly forgot about him and was practically careless about Gatsby and what he had to offer. But, he was so stuck in the thought that what happened once can happen again that he did not care whether she still cared about him or not. He said, “Can’t repeat the past?… Why of course you can! ”(Fitzgerald 110). He was stuck in the past and was not going to let it go until he got Daisy back. This leads him to being responsible for his own death because he once again could not see that this was never going to come true and the past can not always be repeated.
It is also mentioned that “He had been full of the idea so long, dreamed it right through to the end, waited with his teeth set, so to speak, at an inconceivable pitch of intensity. Now, in the reaction, he was running down like an overwound clock” (Fitzgerald 92). What went wrong for Gatsby is he was focused on the people making a negative impact on his life. Daisy did not nearly as much care about Gatsby as he did for her and if Gatsby had recognized that, he could had realized that he deserved someone better and could have avoided his death and all the events leading up to it.
As Gatsby continues to fantasize over Daisy, he creates an illusion and it is said of him that, “ Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us”(Fitzgerald 180). Staying positive, he puts all of his energy into getting back what he and Daisy used to have. He is again trying to take what is a fantasy and make it real which he can not do. Towards the end of the novel the green light burns out which symbolizes the death of anything between Gatsby and Daisy that ever existed. You can not focus on what you had in the past because what you had in the past is not what you have today.
When you keep on trying to recreate the past you are going to ruin the opportunities you have right now. Starting his life off with a poor family and a tough life, he no longer wanted to live that way. The setting of this book is during Prohibition which was the ban of the sale, distribution, or consumption of alcohol. When Gatsby starts to change he gets into a risky and dangerous business “He’s a bootlegger”(Fitzgerald 65) which was selling alcohol illegally. Yes, that would get him lots of money, but it also got him into organized crime.
He also mentioned, “‘I thought you inherited your money’… ‘Oh, I’ve been in several things… I was in the drug business and then I was in the oil business”’(Fitzgerald 90). Although he did work to get his money he never truly learned the value of money and how it is hard earned. This leads to his downfall because he takes money for granted and is getting himself into trouble and making poor decisions. Gatsby also lied about his prior life and told people that “he was an Oxford man”(Fitzgerald 53). He did go to Oxford for a semester, but that does not seem right to call himself that.
He did this because he thought that it would increase his chances of getting Daisy by seeming like a successful and put-together man that was worthy of her. Also, Gatsby is seen as someone who, “their motivations driven by their desire for money and things”(Wulick). This shows how he is a man whose actions are driven by a single person, Daisy, and everything he does is for her so he can attain his old money status by being with her. Even before Daisy came along, Gatsby was careless and “Gatsby evade[d] laws and ‘legally’ innocent people are killed”’(Licence).
This is important because it shows how he was a rule breaker even before Daisy was in his life. Nothing was going to stop him from making bad decisions, with or without Daisy regardless. He had involved himself in illegal dealings which is never good and leads to other awful decisions that will affect him in the future. Gatsby threw these outrageous parties with alcohol and lots of fancy foods and flatware. Numerous people attended these parties and in the words of Vybarr Cregan-Reid, “Gatsby’s infamous parties are attended by many guests who do not know their host”(Reid).
Although Gatsby hardly interacted with people at these parties he met someone extraordinary at one. He met Nick who turned out to be an amazing friend who stuck with him until the end. But not many people at these parties were like Nick. Many were just there for the illegal alcohol being given out freely and the delicious free food being served. Gatsby was being taken advantage of at these parties which is completely his fault for allowing it, and the sole reason for him throwing these parties was for Daisy to attend and so he could try to win her over again.
As mentioned before, Gatsby did anything he could to make his chances with Daisy more likely. When Daisy finally attended one and was disappointed, it breaks Gatsby’s heart. Gatsby has also said that he was an Oxford man in hopes of making his chances of being with Daisy higher. Later on in the novel, Gatsby is still determined that he can win Daisy over even though she has shown that she wants to be with Tom now. Even Tom knows that Daisy wants to be with him and not Gatsby. Gatsby was now scaring Daisy away to the point Tom where Daisy was actually begging to tom, “Please, Tom! I can’t stand this any more”(Fitzgerald 134).
She was sick and tired of Gatsby trying to go after her and she was totally finished with him, but he still did not realize that. Tom then insisted that they, “Go on. He won’t annoy you. I think he realizes that his presumptuous little flirtation is over”(Fitzgerald 135). Despite Daisy’s worries and anxiety about Gatsby, he still tries to win over Daisy one final time. He truly believes that they still have something between each other and is completely oblivious to the reality of the situation. He once again struggles to come to reality and see that money nor reputation can win Daisy over and she is totally done with Gatsby.