In the novel “The Great Gatsby”, Daisy Buchanan was faced with an enormous decision. She had to choose between Tom; her husband and Jay Gatsby; her lover. Gatsby seemed to be the ideal man of his time. Fabulously wealthy, handsome, charismatic and intriguing, he seemed to be able to offer everything a woman could want. All he wanted in return was Daisys complete unconditional love. Tom, on the other hand could offer Daisy money, security and freedom. Ultimately Daisy chose the latter. The roaring 20s was an era of total decadence. The first World War had ended and industry was booming.
People were becoming millionaires overnight. There seemed to be no end in sight to the prosperity. Although people were becoming rich quickly, old money provided more privilege than new money. Tom Buchanan came from old money. He was a Westerner who was renowned in college for both his football skills and his supremely decadent lifestyle. The narrator states “His family were enormously wealthy, even in college his freedom with money was a matter for reproach-but now hed left Chicago and come East in a fashion that rather took your breath away: for instance, he brought down a string of polo ponies from Lake Forest.
Daisy chose to marry Tom because of his wealth and power. Fitzgerald writes “There was a wholesome bulkiness about his person and his position and Daisy was flattered. ” He could offer Daisy prestige in addition to all the old money one could dream of. Gatsby had made his money by illegal means. He was a nobody from nowhere and although he was rich beyond belief, he was one of the hundreds of nouveau riche who lacked the cache of the old money set. Although Gatsby could offer Daisy romance, love, excitement and intrigue, her need for security freedom and money made her eventually choose Tom.
In terms of security, Tom could offer much more than Gatsby. Toms old money could offer Daisy prestige and social position whereas Gatsbys money was quickly and somewhat questionably earned. Everyone including Daisy realized that it could be just as quickly lost. Tom states “I found out what your drug-stores were. He and this Wolfshiem bought up a lot of side-street drug-stores here in Chicago and sold grain alcohol over the counter” . Tom also said “That drug-store business was just small change but youve got something on now that Walters afraid to tell me about. This proves that Gatsbys money was achieved through corrupt eans and his lack of position would leave him vulnerable to prosecution if he were to be caught. On the other hand, Daisy and Toms elite position in society enabled them to “get away with murder”. They were able to move away and start anew after hitting Myrtle in the car. Due to the wealth and power of Tom and Daisy, they were able to live with a substantial amount of freedom. They were able to tear apart the lives of people and move on without as much as a backward glance.
Nicks judgment of them was “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy-they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated ack into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made. ” Daisys selection of Tom over Gatsby afforded a somewhat unorthodox freedom. Tom had many mistresses but always returned to Daisy. He said “Once in a while I go off and make a fool of myself, but I always come back, and in my heart I love her all the time. ” Daisy also loved the luxury of having both a husband and a lover but Gatsby would not allow it.
He wanted all of her and she could not give that to him. She said “Oh, you want too much. I love you ow- isnt that enough. ” Although Gatsby could have offered Daisy a variety of things such as romance, love and excitement, she ultimately chose Tom because of her selfishness. She grew up with old money, security and freedom and was not willing to give it all up for love. I believe that the author chose the name Daisy because Daisy in Latin means the days eye or the sun and everything revolves around the sun. Daisy does not care about anyone else and she believes that everything revolves around her!
The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, a novel by F. Scott Fitsgerald, is about the American Dream, and the ownfall of those who attempt to reach its imaginative goals. The attempt to capture the American Dream is common in many novels. This dream is different for fidderent people, but in The Great Gatsby, for Jay, the dream is that through wealth and power, one can acquire happiness. To get this happiness Jay must reach into the past and relive an old dream and in order to do this he must have wealth and power. Jay Gatsby, the main character of the story , is a character who longs for the past.
Suprisingly he devotes most of his adult life trying to recapture it and, finally, dies in its pursuit. In the past, Jay had a love ffair with the extravagant Daisy. Knowing he could not marry her because of the difference in their social status, he leaves her to obtain wealth to reach her high standards. Once he acquires this wealth, he moves near to Daisy, “Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay,” and throws extravagant parties, happen,he asks around casually if anyone knows her. Soon he meet Nick Carraway, a cousin of Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know… f you’ll invite Daisy, who agrees to set up a meeting, “He wants to know… if you’ll invite Daisy to your house some fternoon and then let him come over. ”
Gatsby’s personal dream symbolizes the larger American Dream where all have the opportunity to get what they want. Later, as we see in the Plaza Hotel, Jay still believes that Daisy loves him. He is convinced of this as is shown when he takes the blame for Myrtle’s death. “Was Daisy driving? ” “Yes… but of course I’ll say I was. ” He also watches and protects Daisy as she returns home. “How long are you going to wait? “All night if necessary. “Jay cannot accept that the past is gone and done with. Jay is sure that he can capture his dream with wealth and influence. He believes that he acted for a good beyond his personal interest and that should guarantee success. Nick attempts to show Jay the folly of his dream, but Jay innocently replies to Nick’s assertion that the past cannot be relived by saying “Yes you can, old sport. ” This shows the confidence that Jay has in fulfilling his American Dream. For Jay, his American Dream is not material possessions, although it may seem that way.
He only comes into riches so that he can fulfill his true American Dream, Daisy. Gatsby doesn’t rest until his American Dream is finally fulfilled. However, it never omes about and he ends up paying the ultimate pirce for it. The idea of the American Dream still holds true in today’s time , be it wealth, love, or fame. But one thing never changes about the American Dream; everyone desires something in life, and everyone, somehow, strives to get it. Gatsby is a prime example of pursuing the American Dream.
Symbolism in the Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is a novel about one man’s disenchantment with the American dream. In the story we get a glimpse into the life of Jay Gatsby, a man who aspired to achieve a position among the American rich to win the heart of his rue love, Daisy Fay. Gatsby’s downfall was in the fact that he was unable to determine that concealed boundary between reality and illusion in his life. The Great Gatsby is a tightly structured, symbolically compressed novel whose predominant images and symbols reinforce the idea that Gatsby’s dream exists on borrowed time.
Fitzgerald perfectly understood the inadequacy of Gatsby’s romantic view of wealth. At a young age he met and fell in love with Ginevra King, a Chicago girl who enjoyed the wealth and social position to which Fitzgerald was always drawn. After being rejected by Ginevra because of his ower social standing, Fitzgerald came away with a sense of social inadequacy, a deep hurt, and a longing for the girl beyond attainment. This disappointment grew into distrust and envy of the American rich and their lifestyle. These personal feelings are expressed in Gatsby.
The rich symbolize the failure of a civilization and the way of life and this flaw becomes apparent in the characters of Tom and Daisy Buchanan. Nick Carraway, the narrator of the story, quickly became disillusioned with the upper social class after having dinner at their home on the fashionable East Egg Island. Nick is forced unwillingly to observe the violent contrast between their opportunities- what is implied by the gracious surface of their existence- and the seamy underside which is it’s reality” (Way 93).
In the Buchanans, and in Nick’s reaction to them, Fitzgerald shows us how completely the American upper class has failed to become an aristocracy. The Buchanans represent cowardice, corruption, and the demise of Gatsby’s dream Gatsby, unlike Fitzgerald himself, never discovers how he has been betrayed by the class he has idealized for so long. For Gatsby, the failure of the rich has disastrous consequences. Gatsby’s desire to achieve his dream leads him to West Egg Island. He purchased a mansion across the bay from Daisy’s home.
There is a green light at the end of Daisy’s dock that is visible at night from the windows and lawn of Gatsby’s house. This green light is one of the central symbols of the novel. In chapter one, Nick observes Gatsby in the dark as he looks longingly across the bay with arms stretched outward toward the green light. It becomes apparent, as the story progresses that “the whole being of Gatsby exists only in relation to what the green light symbolizes This irst sight, that we have of Gatsby, is a ritualistic tableau that literally contains the meaning of the completed book” (Bewley 41).
A broader definition of the green light’s significance is revealed in Chapter 5, as Gatsby and Daisy stand at one of the windows in his mansion. “If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,” said Gatsby. “You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock. ” “Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of hat light had vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it has seemed very near to her, almost touching her.
It had seemed so close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects has diminished by one” (Fitzgerald 94). Gatsby had believed in the green light, it made his dream seem attainable. Upon meeting Daisy again, after a five-year separation, Gatsby discovers that sometimes attaining a desired object can bring a sense of loss rather than fulfillment. It is when Gatsby makes this discovery that the green light is no onger the central image of a great dream, but only a green light at the end of a dock.
The most obvious symbol in The Great Gatsby is a waste land called the Valley of Ashes, a dumping ground that lies between East and West Egg and New York City. Symbolically “the green breast of the new world” (Fitzgerald 182) becomes this Valley of Ashes. As the illusions of youth give way to the disillusionment of the thirties, so green hopes give way to the dust of disappointment. Certainly Gatsby’s dreams turn to ashes; and it is dramatically appropriate that the custodian of the Valley of Ashes, George Wilson, should be Gatsby’s murderer.