“No–Gatsby turned out all right at the end! Says F. Scott Fitzgerald”
It must be admitted that to hear how a tale ends at the beginning or the story is quite unusual. In fact, such an introduction is immediately recalled upon reading the conclusion depending on whether the reader had the impression that Gatsby did turn out all right in the end or on whether he did NOT in fact turn out all right in the end. As stated by the narrator Nick Caraway speaking at the beginning of the novel “No–. Gatsby turned out all right at the end (Fitzgerald),” the line in fact premonitions the coming of a certain fortune for Gatsby or a certain irony for the character. Nick turns to Gatsby, a man who struggled to get what he wants and who must reach a certain status before marrying the woman he is in love with. In this context, the reader is left to ponder then, if Gatsby really turned out all right in the end.
Depiction of Gatsby
In order to be able to assess if Gatsby really did turn out all right in the end and to finally decipher what this strange line could have meant, it is essential to first examine the character known as Jay Gatsby. Gatsby was originally an enigma for most of the characters in the play. an outsider who comes from an obscure past, he was able to win the hearts of many of the people around him with tales of his adventures and lavish displays of his wealth. Yet, such a myopic view does not really show the success of Gatsby, as Nick questions in the first few chapters of the book. In fact, Chapter IV focuses on the mysterious circumstances surrounding Gatsby’s past. In this segment, Gatsby tries to convince Nick about his great upbringing as well as his heroic exploits. There is resistance from Nick at first, since the tale does seem extraordinary, but he soon warms up to the idea upon Gatsby’s presentation of evidence. We see this at the final scene where Nick gave the man his approval and respect when he attended Jay’s Gatsby funeral.
Another important detail that must be discussed is the object of Gatsby’s hope. As will be seen in the book, the source of the romantic sentiments of Gatsby all arise from his love for Daisy. The green light that he yearns for in the first chapter is a symbolism of his love for Daisy and his desire to make such love real. While this green light can certainly given different meanings, the relevance of the green light in this chapter is for the object of Gatsby’s heart which is the love of Daisy.
It may seem at first that these two desires do not blend well together but the story shows that in his quest to gain that green light, Gatsby was ready to go to great lengths. In his pursuit for Daisy, Gatsby lay down the inauspicious mantle that would shroud his mysterious past. As Nick begins to feel that Gatsby may be associated with bootlegging or is engaged in other things that would add to his mysterious wealth, Gatsby is himself concerned with winning the affections of Daisy. It becomes clear at this point that while Nick develops a loathing for Gatsby he also cannot help but admire Gatsby for his other traits.
The issue that begs to be resolved by this now is whether or not such respect was a reflection of the line uttered in the beginning indicating that Gatsby did turn out all right. The line that was uttered is quite unclear on whether or not turning out “all right” was from the perspective of the goals of Nick or that of Gatsby. The reader struggles, at this point, to identify if Nick regarded Gatsby as “all right” because he succeeded in his goals of attaining a certain social status in life or if Nick regarded Gatsby as “all right” because of what he finally realized about Gatsby’s personality.
To arrive at a better understanding, success in the context of those times must be done. Nick’s cousin Daisy and Tom Buchanan are the kind of people in the 20’s who lived a leisurely way of life, and these two are the characters in the story who had affected the lives of the rest in the novel because of their easy going life and carelessness. Jay Gatsby and Daisy met before but fate separated them when Jay has enlisted himself in the War. Daisy, despite her not really being in love as she had told cousin Nick that she is not going to push through with the marriage, still went on and had a baby soon after one month of her wedding with Tom Buchanan a wealthy man. This reveals the nature of society that existed during these times as a representation of represent the aristocratic way of life in the twenties; it measures the value of a person base on his wealth or financial success and not on the magnanimity of a person. Life is more of finding one’s own convenience at the expense of another person.
These forces prodded Gatsby into conforming to the world that this life is a business to get rich no matter how and what it takes which is a dark part of him. Wealth for Gatsby is just a show to win the respect of the person dear to him. He does not want it for him alone, the wild extravagance in his parties shows that he is a very generous man though not a saint but capable of loving and giving. And for this reason even if Jay is not perfect, Nick has regarded Gatsby as someone who tuned out well in the end because Gatsby regarded his wealth only as a means to attain an elusive dream. His sublime love for Daisy is not properly repaid but Jay is only interested in giving. In the end, as Gatsby gave up his life, the reader is shown just what “all right” means in all sense of the word.
Gatsby’s life could have ended but it was a life lived well. In the narrator’s mind, the woman of Gatsby’s dream do not deserve to be given a noble love and again for that reason, in the end still it is Gatsby who turned out alright. He had his share; he had won Daisy even for a very brief period in time.
Turning out “all right” in the context of this tale therefore signifies the achievement of Gatsby. It is not merely the assessment of Nick that matters in determining whether or not Gatsby turned out “all right” but rather the attainment of Gatsby’s own personal goals in life. While Nick may have despised or doubted the person of Jay, the penultimate sacrifice that was given in the end for Nick’s cousin was enough for him to warrant that statement.