For Jay Gatsby idealism and truth play important roles in how he chooses to live his life as well as how others view his life. Every individual holds different ideals and matters of what they believe to be the truth. For individuals existence and truth pertains to only what the person knows and believes in; therefore, how one perceives things to be is how they exist. For Gatsby the only Daisy that exists is perfect and the embodiment of everything he desires.
For the narrator, Nick Carraway, the way he views Daisy is messy and imperfect so she only exists that way. Written only in first person point of view, the story holds a certain biased opinion of Daisy that affects the opinion of Gatsby. For Gatsby reality, or reality as he knows it, is fundamentally mentally constructed and is otherwise immaterial; meaning that the only Daisy that exists is the one Gatsby is conscious of.
Although the Daisy that exists for Gatsby is the only conscious version of herself she is unattainable for Gatsby, which leads him to ignore all other subjects that exist outside of his world, for example, Daisy’s desires in life and consequences of actions from others are concepts ignored by Gatsby in his endeavours to pursue Daisy. The negligence of the realities around him ultimately leads to his psychological and physical death.
In the novel Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte Heathcliff is an adopted gypsy that is rejected by the woman he loves due to his social status and appearance, much like how despite loving him Daisy refuses to marry Gatsby based on his wealth. Each man, Heathcliff and Gatsby, left to make names for themselves after their rejections and came back extremely wealthy. Despite having acquired wealth and social class neither man ever ends up with the woman they love. “His revenge against the man she chooses to marry and its consequences” talking about how Heathcliff’s revenge on the man Catherine hose to marry instead lead to his psychological death while Gatsby taking his anger out on Tom lead to his physical death. The problem between the characters is that neither man is capable of comprehending the complexity of the world around them or the consequences of actions due to the blinding notion of idealism and how they perceive items of truth. Due to Gatsby’s relentless chase for Daisy his mind undergoes changes physically as well as philosophically that affect him continuously throughout the novel.
Physically Gatsby changes everything about his appearance in an attempt to become a different person that would please and capture Daisy’s attention. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s intent with the construction of “The Great Gatsby” is to bring to light the complications viewed in believing and putting forth goals and values over concrete realities. Nick Carraway’s observations of Gatsby and his life show this. From Nick’s perspective, Gatsby is ceaselessly chasing a person who only exists in Gatsby’s mind contrasting from the Daisy existing in Nick’s mind.
Fitzgerald also outlines how the opinions pertaining to truth and existence vary among people and how depending on one individual’s opinion other opinions can clash and create negative views. The world that exists for Gatsby competes with the world observed by others, such as Nick, Daisy, Tom, and Jordan. Because Gatsby’s world is largely different than other people’s Gatsby is observed as a madman with crazy ambitions and unattainable goals, this creates negative opinions on Gatsby even though for Gatsby he is going after what he loves and does not mind the heartache that comes along with it.
Fitzgerald’s novel outlines the judgment held by society and how people tend to try and dictate how another person should live their life. He also brings into account how when an individual chooses to only focus on singular goals they neglect things going on around them and cannot see things from other people’s perspectives. At the time of The Great Gatsby America was wrought with corruption, racism, high wage gaps, and recklessness all veiled by the glamorization of post war money, new found freedom for women, and extravagant parties.
For Jay Gatsby the country he lives in is overwhelmed with false senses of hope for the economy and materialism. The greed felt by society as well as materialistic views on social class and identity are the main causes for Gatsby’s desire for change due to Daisy’s obsessions with power and money. The economic roar in the twenties caused many people to start to live recklessly and flamboyantly through bootlegging, speakeasies, and in many occasions in the novel, infidelity.
The quixotic nature of the Jazz Age left many people with a false sense of security in the economy, this later all crumbled into the great depression but while it was thriving people like Gatsby, Daisy, Nick, and Tom fed off of the energy and glamour until the illusion slowly faded for some of them. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the novel based on his own life experiences, during the nineteen- twenties, that reflect the lives of both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby. Fitzgerald was both a victim of the enchanting nature of the twenties as well as aware of its unsteady nature.
During the time Fitzgerald was in the military and fell in love with a girl, a girl who chose not to marry based on social class and wealth much like Gatsby and Daisy. Like Nick Carraway Fitzgerald takes note of and writes about the corruption and ugly nature of the glamourized twenties. The character of Gatsby transforms due to his perceptions of existence. The character of Jay Gatsby arose from Jay Gatz, who grew up in a rural part of North Dakota with extremely poor GermanAmerican parents.
The rural and poor life was not one to be lived by Gatsby. When he was young his parents knew he “was bound to get ahead”( Fitzgerald 185). A younger Jay Gatsby came to know a man named Dan Cody who showed him the lifestyle of a tycoon and for ten years showed James what it was like to live the life he yearned for. The past of Gatsby is recalled multiple times and it is always noted how the events of his past led him to become the man he grew up to be. For Gatz, even before he met Daisy, his ideals were based on class and wealth, his affected the way he chose to live his life and how he chose to make changes. Initially ambition, determination, and goals powered and motivated James Gatz to become someone he aspired to be. However, the ambitions changed and morphed through time and eventually his obsession with social class was heightened when James learnt that Daisy would not marry him based on his wealth. Soon James’s morals and beliefs began to be ignored in hopes of obtaining what he wanted.
Due to experiences with Dan Cody Gatsby vocally disapproves of alcohol, yet he earned the majority of his wealth from bootlegging illegal drugs and alcohol because of his infatuation with money and Daisy. The transformation of James Gatz starts with his ambitions and goals morphing his outlook on life and how the world should be, ignoring how things presently existed at the time. The transformation takes place in his appearance; such as, the way Gatsby acts and holds himself which transforms him from a farmer’s son to a sophisticated entrepreneur.
Many observed Gatsby as having misguided intentions and a hopeless dream, however, it was not these characteristics that lead to the downfall of The Great Gatsby; it was the avoidance of subjects that did not pertain to daisy and wealth, as well as his love transforming into something darker. Jay Gatz had aspirations and enthusiasm while Jay Gatsby had obsession and denial. As a result of Jay Gatsby’s opinions regarding truth and ideals his psychological state is compromised.
Gatsby’s ideas of how his life and society should be, led him to not be able to accept how things were presently for him. Gatsby became stuck chasing these unattainable goals ceaselessly blinding him from everything happening around him. It can be observed that after Gatsby reached his life goal of wealth and fortune he was still empty, chasing Daisy; trying to fill that hole in his life, and after he reunited with Daisy that too was not good enough for him as he demanded that she admit her love publicly. Jay Gatsby’s main psychological obstacle comes from his happiness.
He relies on materialistic objects and other people to be the source for his happiness rather than seeking it out himself. Another problem for Gatsby psychologically is the irritation that builds inside of him as a result of having idealistic notions. Not long after reuniting with Daisy Gatsby becomes drunk with the need to accomplish more and complete his goals to the very end. The idealistic attitude held by Gatsby along with his opinions on what is real are what cause him to be blind and ignore the attitudes and opinions held by everyone else around him.
The comprehension of what is happening between couples and people are subjects ignored by Gatsby; therefore, he is never fully able to understand the struggle held by Daisy to tell Tom she never loved him. The frustration that Gatsby has pertaining to why Daisy will not run away with him is due to Gatsby’s lack of knowledge of the situation and him ignoring or being unable to see things from her perspective. Only things that are seen are consciously known to Gatsby exist to him, that is why other perspectives and attitudes on life held by those around him are not thought of.
He is fixated on his own life and goals not taking into account Daisy’s feelings or complicated life. Gatsby goes mad with frustration because he is close-minded and an idealist instead of a realist. All that Jay can fully understand and comprehend are things and events he has lived through and experienced, this explains his obsession with reliving the past and not being able to let go of Daisy or his wealth. Everything together accumulated into an unhealthy mind that had been poisoned with unintentional selfish desires and close-minded goals.
In the mind and thoughts of Jay Gatsby, Daisy Buchanan is everything he desires in the world and he is fixated on achieving her love and affection. The belief that Gatsby holds regarding his status in comparison to Daisy causes him to lack self-confidence and convince himself that he is required to improve in order to be content with himself and for others to accept him socially. The life of Gatsby quickly becomes committed to becoming a different, respectful person which fuels his lust for wealth and Daisy who is observed by many as shiny and pure.
One of the changes noted in Gatsby’s transformation into a newly “refined” version of himself is how he transformed his name from James Gatz to Jay Gatsby; subsequently, the latter has an improved flow to it whereas the first name is a cacophony. The inferred intent with the transformation of his name is to create a superiorly elegant and grand image of himself by choosing a brief first name and glamourous sounding last name. The significance is that he wants people to view him the same way they would hear his name, elegant and put together.
The morphing of vocabulary is another way Jay Gatsby tries to create a different image for himself; moreover, Gatsby uses the term “Old sport” previously used by his mentor Dan Cody by reason of wanting to imply that his money and wealth were not new but old due to the fact new money at the time was considered gaudy and less impressive whereas old money was respected and established. Another way that Gatsby uses the phrase is to separate himself from other men in his life.
No other character in the novel uses the term making it stand out uniquely to Gatsby. Old Sport is Jay’s utmost prominent catchphrase, and it is a way to distinguish himself as original and unique; conversely, it is also a deliberate affectation designed to impress anyone who he is speaking to. Gatsby’s attitude of seeing existence as it should be not how it presently is, results in his change of character as he believes the only way to achieve the lifestyle he desires is to become a different person.