After the events of this story have unfolded, the narrator Nick, focuses on theman most like himself; Gatsby. Both Nick Carraway and Jay Gatz hail from themid-west, where morals and the right way of getting ahead are instilled intothem. They travel to New York, where the morals are paper-thin and everythingseems turned upside down. The saps with morals stay in the ashheaps while thecareless, foolhardy upper society do what they please. Nick stays true to themid-west morals of an earnest, hardworking living while Gatsby tries to be justlike the others on East Egg.
Nick says this of him, Gatsby believed in thegreen light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eludedus then, but thats no matter-tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out ourarms further…..And one fine morning- (189). A central theme of the novel Ithink, is the idea that people arent satisfied with what they have, they arealways going further and further, never knowing when to stop, and alwaysstriving for that bright star that seemed so close that he could hardly failto grasp it.
(189). To Gatsby the green light symbolizes Daisy, Daisy in away 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 lightrepresents the wild and recklessness of the times. These were times when womenfor the first time were drinking and smoking alongside the guys, their war wasover and so were their troubles. The green light for them means go, after mostwars 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 dontcare what happens to others as long as they remain untouched and unrivaled. Thisselfishness is shown in nearly all characters except Nick, who accepts his lifeand is satisfied. He works hard and scrapes by, but he is living the life hewants, I am one of the few honest men that I have ever known.(64). Hessensible and thinks out his actions. He doesnt have the green gleam in hiseye that everyone else seems to have. He is an observer to the situation, andwhen he talks of Gatsby believing in the Green Light, he sums up Gatsbysphilosophy and possibly what was written in the back of his most recent editionof Hopalong Cassidy; the way to live his life dedicated to Daisy. Hiswhole life was devoted to re-wooing Daisy and finally have that one finemorning when she would be his completely. I do not think that he knew when tostop. Once Gatsby achieves his dreams and Daisy is now seeing him on a regularbasis, he doesnt know what to do. This whole time he wanted her so much andhe couldnt get her, he was dreaming. Dreaming that the green light wouldshine on him, and once it did, he couldnt help but go further, stretch hisarms just a little further, and ask Daisy to leave her husband. On page 139 inthe hotel scene Daisy says to Jay, Oh, you want to much! I love youknow—isnt that enough? But for Gatsby it isnt enough, he wants moreand more and really it is this dream of one fine morning that is thereason he is killed. He lives his life as a dream. He accomplishes theAmerican Dream by coming from nothing and getting everything but all hisprofit go to Daisy, she is his dream all along, and it is from this situationthat in the end he is killed, caught in the tangled web of the Buchanansmarriage. Tom is a good example of not knowing when to stop. He was born intowealth and went to a prominent college. His life is set up, he has wealth, abeautiful wife, a child, a lavish lifestyle, and no worries. His decision tohave extra-marital affairs is a key example of stretching his arms, andindulging himself to the point of fallout. This is common among his peers, therich New York crowd. Gatsby follows Daisy from the time he arrives back untilthe day he actually has his dreams come true and he meets her. She is symbolizedby the green light at the end of her dock. To me, this green light isrepresentative of not only Daisy, but of all the other people in her socialclass who love the color green as well, and happen to live on the East Egg. Isay they love the color green because all they are interested in is money. Moneyis an important factor in this novel. When Gatsby flaunts his money around hegets 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 Gatsbyhas 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 theanswer, and she is represented in the light. In a way, the far-off green lightrepresents all that is unobtainable to Gatsby. It is his pipe dream. He hasalready conquered a material world, and all that drives him in this novel has todo with him gaining the green light and having Daisy shine from his dock. Ithink Daisy can easily be compared to her peers; the kind of people that attendGatsbys parties. They are driven by green. They love money and areattracted to anyone that has it and is willing to spend it. This can be seen onpage 50 when Nick stumbles into the library where Owl Eyes is admiringGatsbys books, Its a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me.
This fellas a regular Belasco. He doesnt even know the man, I wasbrought 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 hisshallow values. Owl Eyes is a common man in this society and his words give usinsight to these people. They dont care whos house they party at, they arewild, unbridled, and reckless people who are living their lives for fun. This ishow Gatsby had it planned. He hopes from the very first party that Daisy wouldbe one of the people stumbling to his front door, she would see him, fall inlove again, and she would be his in every sense, just like it should havehappened. In a sense hes trying to bring the glow of the East Egg over to theWest. It is not only Daisy who has this green light, most all the people thatlive on East Egg do as well. They go-go-go, and never look back. Theyre goingtoo fast, there is no way that this can last; hence the number of wrecks andcollisions in this book. When Owl Eyes crashes his car, they ask him how ithappened, Dont ask me, I know very little about driving-next tonothing, (59) is how he replies. They dont ever realize that they couldlearn from their actions. They do something, it happens, and they say, Atfirst I din notice wed stopped. (60) Then they gear up and go-go-gosome more. Its very easy for these people to put the blame somewhere else, andif they cant think of a reason this doesnt seem to bother them. Daisykills a lady, sees her lover killed, and then takes a vacation to reset and wecan 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 asituation that is comfortable for her. She has security, a family, and no realworries. It is her way of being a beautiful little fool (21) that allowsher this freedom. Tom goes out with other women, abuses Daisy, and she doesntdo a thing about it. Daisy has her green light shining, and it is accomplishedby being a fool. She doesnt seem to register that this is an unhealthymarriage, all she lives for is her easy, lethargic way of life. When things getrough, all she has to do is hide in the shadow of her great big hulkingspecimen (16) of a husband, Tom. When Daisy hits Myrtle she runs back to Tomand everything straightens itself out, and even when they were in Chicago wewere made to believe that something of this sort might have happened before whenDaisy says to Tom, Youre revolting, do you know why we left Chicago? Imsuprised they didnt treat you to the story of that little spree. (139) Itseems Daisys light will always be shining, drawing people into the tangledmarriage of her and Tom. Gatsby in some way knows Daisy is materialistic. Hetells Nick, Her voice is full of money. Nick agrees and writes, It wasfull of money-that was the inexhaustible charm that rose and fell in it, thejingle of it, the cymbals song of it…High in a white palace the kingsdaughter, the golden girl..(127) He has worked to where hes at just so hecould show Daisy how much money he has and it helps him a lot. Daisy, aftertouring the mansion starts to cry, It makes me sad because Ive never seensuch-such beautiful shirts before. (98) He has finally shown her what he hasand what he can give her, and Daisy decides that she will make her move in thechess game that her and her husband seem to be playing by having an affair aswell. It seems to me that in some sense that to the Buchanans Gatsby and Myrtleare mere playthings, there for their personal entertainment. Im sure that thegreen light did not shine only for Gatsby, Myrtle was no doubt caught by thisbeacon in Tom. To Myrtle Tom glows, he stinks of the fact that she hopes Tomwill be her knight in shining armor. Myrtle hopes to marry Tom, and shes surethat he would, except, (Daisys) a Catholic and they dont believe indivorce. (38). All Tom wants is to live vicariously, he cares practicallynothing about Myrtle when compared to the way she feels about him. To her hesthe answer and not even abuse will drive her away. Myrtle, in search of herone fine morning finds only death, resembling Gatsby. She is mesmerized byToms empty promises, similar to Daisy and Jays relationship. Gatsby ishypnotized by Daisys light as well. He hadnt seen or talked to Daisy sincethe day he left Louisville. All he has is the idea of Daisy. This idea that hehas that she is the most perfect, best woman in the world is somehow pinnacledin the green light. On page 25, he stretched out his arms toward the darkwater in a curious way, and far as I was from him I could have sworn he wastrembling. Gatsby is entranced by this green light because it symbolizesDaisy. All he has is knowing that she is over there somewhere because the lightat the end of her dock is shining. He doesnt know her situation, if shesstill 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 andMyrtle 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. Americawas based on the dream that anything can come true and Gatsby swallows this ideawhole. In the end he went to far and it meant his demise.
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