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The Great Gatsby

Motif of Eyes in the Great Gatsby

Taylor Hultquist Mr. Sudak English 11 18 March 2013 The motif of eyes in The Great Gatsby Eyes are the gateway to the soul, or so the old saying goes. People’s eyes can convey their feelings – their anger, excitement, or worry. Eyes can also convey subconscious emotions, revealing hidden depths that might not otherwise be apparent. In The Great Gatsby we are introduced to many characters whose eyes effectively reveal their personalities. The author explores the symbolism of eyes as Nick, the narrator, observes the lives and interactions of his friends on Long Island.
One of his acquaintances, Daisy, is a flighty girl, married to a retired football player. Her husband, Tom Buchanan, embodies the classic tough-white-male aura. These two and the majority of other east coast characters are eventually seen as immoral, and the author’s portrayal of their eyes foreshadowed this development. Through a complex analysis of The Great Gatsby, one can argue that eyes are used as a motif that symbolizes the “loss of virtue in America. ” Through the eyes of our narrator, James Gatsby and Tom Buchanan represent the east coast American ideal.
Nick considers their wealth, social status, and confidence to be the level that he strives to attain. What he does not first understand is that these qualities ultimately lead to each man’s demise. Although Tom and Gatsby had many differences, they shared the common flaw of lost virtue. When Nick reconnects with his old friends, his first impression of Tom Buchanan is that “two shining, arrogant eyes had established dominance over [Tom’s] face” (9). In this passage we witness Fitzgerald’s reference to eyes and his characterization of them with the adjective of “arrogant. These overwhelming eyes are the first feature Nick notes, and he claims even they communicate Tom’s stuck-up attitude. Tom’s eyes make him appear to be “always leaning aggressively forward” (9) – clearly a negative personality trait. Virtue is defined as a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person. Referencing the quote above, one can make the inference that Tom’s character falls outside of this definition. This is a trend, which carries throughout this novel continuously with all of Nick’s ‘east coast friends. During the same evening Nick notes that Daisy’s eyes “flashed around her in a defiant way, rather like Tom’s, and she laughed with thrilling scorn” (20). This quote is juxtaposed to an unflattering insight into Daisy’s character, as Nick observes in the insincerity of her comments about sophistication and the falsity of his evening spent with her and Tom. Yet despite all this, he still acknowledges that Daisy’s character always seems to be promising “gay and exciting things” have already happened and are still yet to come.

Daisy represents the wild side of high end New York, but we see that this lifestyle is not quite as superior as everyone believes it to be. In fact, Daisy seems to view it in quite a bittersweet manner and cries that it is not entirely satisfying. What Fitzgerald is displaying through the two figures of Tom and Daisy is that while they want for nothing, they long for everything. In order to satisfy their desires they turn to money and society, and still find these lacking. Nick moved from Midwestern America to the East Coast.
Cities have historically been viewed as centers of depravity, while rural areas represent simplicity and thus a kind of innocence. Every time the characters travel between the Eggs and the city, they pass beneath a billboard containing the infamous eyes of Dr. TJ Eckleburg. His eyes are “blue and gigantic” with “retinas one yard high,” all rising “above the grey land and spasms of bleak dust” below (26). These eyes are witness as the characters venture to the city – Tom for his affair, Daisy looking for ‘fun,’ even Gatsby to meet the man who fixed the World Series.
These fraudulent actions reveal the corrupted natures of characters, and in effect the corruption of people at large. The billboard’s eyes are equated to the eyes of God, eyes witnessing everything everywhere. Just as one would feel shame knowing God was watching their deceitful actions, one should feel shame being scrutinized by TJ Eckleburg. The commercialism of the billboard is additionally reflective of the increasing commercialism of America, and of its citizens growing obsession with material wealth. Tom and Daisy’s lifestyle is the epitome of this, as they solely pursue money and fun and have no interest in their moral states of being.
Yet just as this couple’s lives lack true joy – as displayed through Fitzgerald’s apt descriptions of their eyes – so will anyone’s who obsessively pursues the ‘American Dream’ of endless wealth. Works Cited Dictionary. com. “Virtue. ” Dictionary. com. Dictionary. com, n. d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013. Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Australia: Scribner, 1925. E-book. “The Great Gatsby; Symbols and Motifs. ” Eyes of T. J. Eckleburg. Blog Spot, May 2011. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. “Benjamin Franklin Quotes. ” LibertyQuotes. Liberty-Tree. ca, 2005. Web. 20 Mar. 2013.

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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby Presentation

Wealth and social class permeate much of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’. Set during the roaring twenties when many people had newly accumulated wealth after the war, both texts seek to explore and satirise the complexities of wealth and social class. They particularly focus on how far people may go to fit into a social class or protect their fortune. Despite ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ being set within the fantasy genre, elements of Fitzgerald’s own life run as undercurrents throughout both texts.
Fitzgerald’s life features heavily in the texts, be it through the characterisation of Nick and Gatsby or the underlying references to his personal experiences. The experiences of the main protagonists’ form parallels with Fitzgerald’s interactions with the wealthy, both at Princeton and Great Neck and in his relationship with Zelda. ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ satirises the exuberant wealth experienced by Fitzgerald when visiting a Princeton classmate. ‘The Great Gatsby’ on the other hand, is more reliant on aspects of Fitzgerald’s own life which forms the emotional foundation of the novel.
Gatsby’s relationship with Daisy mirrors Fitzgerald’s turbulent relationship with Zelda who much like Daisy, was regarded as being incredibly materialistic. Gatsby can therefore be seen as a representing Fitzgerald’s pursuit of sufficient wealth to support an aristocratic love interest. He does this to the detriment of his artistic integrity which he compromised by writing short stories to fund Zelda’s opulent lifestyle. This is mirrored by Gatsby compromising his integrity and personal worth by bootlegging and lying about being the ‘son of some wealthy people in the Middle-West’, in order to please Daisy and hopefully gain acceptance.

He fails in both these areas. In integrating elements of his personal life, Fitzgerald may be implying that loving someone of a different social class comes with compromises and that one may lose sight of who they are in the process. ‘The Great Gatsby’ by virtue of its representations of wealth and class can be seen as a running criticism of the American Dream and America’s obsession with wealth amidst the hedonistic culture of the 1920’s. The American Dream had originally been founded on the notion that anyone, irrespective of their background could achieve anything in the ‘land of opportunity’ if they worked hard enough.
Fitzgerald however, believed that the American Dream was just an ‘illusion’ and that it had been corrupted by the of pursuit wealth. He consistently challenged the idea of the achievability of the American Dream in ‘The Great Gatsby’. The geographical motifs of East and West Egg embody just how unachievable the American Dream is. This geographical separation may symbolise the hypothetical and literal divides between the nouveau riche who reside in West Egg and aristocrats of East egg, consequently highlighting how they will forever lead separate existences.
This gives the impression of the American Dream being highly flawed, as having acquired great wealth does not translate into acceptance for the people of West Egg, who are seen as the social subordinates of the aristocrats of East Egg. This is further established by the behaviour of the guests at Gatsby’s party. The people of West Egg lack the refinement, grace and manners of their aristocratic counterparts for whom these traits form the rudiments of their social class. This consequently demonstrates how East and West Egg are separated by more than geographical distance but also by simple things such as social etiquette and fashion choices.
Jordan’s party (who consist of fellow East Eggers) are ‘spread around a table on the outside of the garden’ ‘carefully on guard’, emphasising that even within the intimate confines of the party the divide is still apparent and the people of East Egg are reluctant to mix. The corruption of the American Dream is further explored through the main protagonists’ initial amazement and delight (early on in the text) at the great wealth they encounter. Fitzgerald employs a myriad of symbolisms, metaphors and similes to depict the sheer luxury and over exuberance of the aristocrats within both texts.
Through these devices he is able to satirise the materialistic world the aristocrats inhabit, making it appear outlandish. In ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ John Unger, a boy from Hades with ‘meager standards of living’ is ‘amused and delighted’, by the luxurious lifestyle Percy and his family lead. When he arrives with Percy they are driven in what Percy dismissively calls a ‘buggy’. However, the reader can extrapolate from John’s reaction at the ‘thousand minute tapestries of silk, woven with jewels’ that the vehicle is far from an old buggy.
In this instance John’s amazement may have been employed to paradox Percy’s dismissive attitude towards wealth as he refers to the luxurious car as ‘old junk’. Fitzgerald may have used this paradox highlight the hollow nature of the wealthy, whose lives are fueled by consumerism to the extent that they place little value to the possessions everyone else would deem as extraordinary. In ‘The Great Gatsby’, Nick is also amazed by the wealth he experiences at the Buchanan home. His first interaction with Daisy and Jordon has a dream like quality to it.
When he meets the women they are dressed in white, ‘their dresses rippling and fluttering … a short flight around the house’ this gives the women an angelic quality which hints at how Nick is initially drawn in by their great wealth. This surreal and dream like quality of wealth is also reflected in ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ with the depiction of the girl who is dressed like ‘Titania’. In the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania is the queen of the fairies which Fitzgerald may have used to allude to the magical and mystifying qualities of wealth present within both texts.
Conversely, the amazement the main protagonists’ initially showcased soon dissipates when they discover the corruptive nature of wealth and the wealthy. Despite the people of East Egg possessing an abundance of grace, elegance and taste (that comes with adhering to the norms of aristocratic society) they lack compassion. The East Eggers are presented as little more than bullies who use their money to alleviate any concerns they have, irrespective of who they hurt in the process.
This morally corrupt nature of the rich is explored through the Buchanan’s in ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the Washingtons’ in ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’. The Buchanans’ are presented as ‘careless people’ who ‘smash[ed] things up’ only to retreat back into ‘their vast carelessness’. Their lack of moral fiber is further emphasised when instead of attending Gatsby’s funeral they move into a house far away. Fitzgerald may have used the Buchanans’ as a moral didactic for the readers to illustrate how wealth can corrupt when one allows themself to become consumed by it.
On the other hand, it could represent the unfair nature of capitalist societies whereby the wealthy upper-class can afford to pay for peace of mind. This conflicts with Gatsby whom despite accumulating his wealth through criminality is kind and loving, keeping watch outside Daisy’s window to insure Tom does not hurt her, consequently illustrating that wealth alone does not corrupt but when coupled with high social status it can have disastrous effects. Moreover, in both texts religion (which is supposed to strengthen ones moral compass) has been replaced by consumerism.
Atrocious things are carried out in the name of wealth in the texts, including murder and imprisonment. These things are written off as a natural pre-requisite of success and expansion. Here Fitzgerald argues that wealth can be its own prison blinding its pursuers, dehumanizing them to the extent that they devalue human life and assume that everyone can be bought. Fitzgerald satirizes the absurd nature of the rich when Mr. Washington tries ‘offering a bribe to God’ with a voice immersed in ‘inextinguishable pride’.
Ross Posnock, a Marxist writer, praised Fitzgerald in his essay ‘A New World, Material Without Being real’ for his presentation of the capitalist society in ‘The Great Gatsby’1. Posnock believed that Fitzgerald had captured the capitalist society’s obsession with material wealth and how it leads to people being regarded as little more than object that can be acquired along with capital in order to boost ones social status. Gatsby’s vast wardrobe is a ‘heavy defensive wall’ consisting of ‘thick silk’ and ‘expensive dye’ which support the Marxist view of material possessions providing a barrier against hardship which the rich can hide behind.
For Gatsby, and many others, material possessions help to protect their status in the same way the ‘invisible cloak’ of Gatsby’s army uniform had hidden his lower class status when he first met Daisy. In general, the negative portrayal of consumerism in his work has made him very popular with Marxist writers. In conclusion, Fitzgerald uses ‘The Great Gatsby’ and ‘The Diamond as Big as Ritz’ to highlight the negative elements of wealth and class, whilst particularly emphasising that class roles will never be crossed.
Both texts highlight the potential hazards of capitalist societies when one becomes consumed by materialism, placing greater importance on monetary fortune and status than the consequences of their actions. Although Fitzgerald presents both wealth and class in negative lights he reminds the reader that wealth alone does not give way to moral corruption hinting that it is wealth in conjunction with high social class that leads to the decaying of one’s moral compass.

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The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby Final

In the novel The Great Gatsby, each heartache has very distinctive characteristics; all has life goals and dreams, and played an irreplaceable role in the novel. At first glance, the protagonists and antagonists are clear to see. One would place Jay Gatsby as the good guy, the one who has American dream, and who is a hopeless romantic who believes in everlasting love. For Daisy and Tom, they are definitely the antagonists, the bad ones, the one who tore Gatsby dreams and hopes apart.
Nick on the other hand, has a great transformation throughout the novel; being the narrator of the novel, he seemed to have a fairly good view n himself while he’s narrating the story’. Nevertheless, as the novel progress, there are parts and bits that could reveal how he may not be who he claimed to be. This paper would focus on the two characters, Nick Caraway and Daisy Buchanan. Their character will be viewed in an objective way, and attempt to see deeper into their life and why they did what they did.
In the end, eventually find out whether they are actually the bad or good guy that people tend to view them, or perhaps there’s something more to them. L. Nick Caraway: The narrator of this novel is Nick Caraway, a man who grew up in family of prominent, well-to-do people” in Chicago; he is a Yale graduate, loves literature and even considers himself as a “well-rounded man”. After he fought in the World War I, he joined the prosperous and fast-growing business world in New York.

Somehow, he is the cousin of the tremendously wealthy Daisy Buchanan, and a college acquaintance of Tom Buchanan, they lived a luxurious life that was completely opposite of his. Being the narrator, it is easy to believe everything that he said, but there are signs that could show that he is not as simple or positive as he pronounce to be, as Peter L. Hays aid in his paper, Initially Nick’s father tells him that “all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had”, presumably material advantages.
But Nick interprets the statement to mean “a sense of fundamental decencies is parceled out unequally at birth”, something very different, and a belief that qualifies Nick very much as a snob. In the novel, Nick is a tolerant and open minded listener, and highly educated so is also an intellectual, people felt the urge to confide to him and trust him. However, while Gatsby made up his past and have illegal business in his present life,
Nick’s family also did something similar; they earn their money by selling hardware but cover it up by saying that they have ducal blood. When he describes his own house, he said his house is a “small eyesore,” and gives him “consoling proximity of millionaires. ” Though sounding somehow self- mocking, he might actually feel like being near to the rich does make up for his own living standards, as if lying about his background and living next to the rich could take up closer to being one of the people in the high society.
Nick’s true thoughts over the rich and himself were never clearly identified, UT it seems possible that he does want to fit into the complicated high society, despite the fact that he views himself as morally more advance than all the rest The readers learn more about his personality by the way he speaks and how he described the others as the novel progress.
Nick calls himself “one of the few honest people that I have ever known” In the beginning of the novel, he claimed that he would reserve all judgments while interacting with others, as quoted from the novel: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any One,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this oral haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. ” He didn’t say any more, but we’ve always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that. In consequence, I’m inclined to reserve all judgments […
J. In the above passage, Nick said that he would reserve judgment on all things, but throughout the novel, he seems to be making personal remarks on the other characters. For example, he said his gracious next door neighbor Jay Gatsby is “unaffected com”, and the Buchannan couple were “careless people”; even said that his lover Jordan Baker is “incurably dishonest. Nick is not only the righteous and objective narrator who he claimed to be, he is also someone whose sight is muddled by the lavish life Of the rich and famous.
His internal conflict over the lifestyle of his new life in New York goes on throughout the book, and is especially represented by his romantic relationship with Jordan Baker. He is in love with her energy and sophistication, but he is repeatedly disgust by her carelessness and dishonesty. Towards the end of the novel, Jordan said, “You said a bad driver was only safe until she met another bad driver? Well, I met another bad driver, didn’t l? I mean it was careless of me to make such a wrong guess. I thought you were rather an honest, straightforward person. Thought it was your secret pride. Perhaps in the end, the ones who seem the most trustworthy is the one that should not be trusted at all. I. Daisy Buchanan Daisy Buchanan is an interesting character to kick at. In common day terms, some people might view her as the head cheerleader who married the quarterback of the football team, a shallow beauty who cares about nothing but the superficial, money and good looks. Not exactly a scheming gold- digger, since she is already from the elite social class and has incredible lath of her own, but like what she said she wished her daughter would be, “a beautiful little fool”.
Daisy was born in a rich and high class family in Louisville, where she had a short fling with the handsome young man Jay Gatsby who had a fake identity. When Nick described his cousin Daisy, he said she has a voice that makes her untouchable and “full of money,” and made her sounds like someone who lives “high in a white palace, the king’s daughter, the golden girl” She was the kind of girl who would make every girl feel jealous, who lived the life of comfort and had everything that any girl could ever wanted.
To Gatsby, she is a symbol of wealth and social status, everything that he wanted and trying to achieve, and Gatsby fell in love with her, dedicated his whole life just for her basing on a faint hope that they could somehow be together once more. Unfortunately, the young lovers never got the chance to have their wishes come true, Daisy married another man when Gatsby was away at war. She did seem regretful though, before she got married, she drunkenly said: “Here, dearer’. “She groped around in a waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of peers. Take ‘me down-stairs and give ‘me back to whoever they belong to. Tell ‘me all Daisy change; her mind. Say: ‘Daisy’s change’ her mind! ‘”‘ She still ended up marrying the rich Tom Buchanan, some may say she married for the money or did not had the patience to wait for Gatsby any longer, but perhaps all she ever wanted was to be loved and live an easy life, as Jordan described: “If he left the room for a minute she’d look around uneasily, and say: “Where’s Tom gone? ” and wear the most abstracted expression until she saw him coming in the door.
She used to sit on the sand with his head in her lap by the hour, rubbing her fingers over his eyes and looking at him with unfathomable delight. Her love for Tom was not entirely based on his wealth or power, but she simply loved him. When she eventually fell in love with Tom after she reluctantly had got married, it was not that she only cared for the fabulous life and forgot all about Jay Gatsby, she merely wanted what every other 20 something girls wanted, to love and to be loved. Most readers have negative opinions of her.
She killed a person by driving clumsily and decided to run away, leaving Jay Gatsby broken hearted and in the end, dead. She is overly rich which caused her to seem careless and did not have any constructive thoughts over other subjects beside love and money. But one must not neglect the fact that she was raised and lived in an environment that only taught her to act the way she did, she did not know any better. As a rich girl growing up, she was probably well protected and well loved, what was she to know what it meant to be responsible for ones actions?
And yet, when her baby girl was born, she told Nick: “all right,’ I said, ‘I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool”‘ It seemed that she was glad that her daughter was a girl, but in between her tears, a sadness also appeared, perhaps she ad wished that her child would be a boy, so it would not have to live as vulnerable as her. But since her child was a girl, she then wished that it was a beautiful fool like she is, to live a simple life and be blinded from all the unhappiness that she had to live with despite her wealth.
Although not exactly not as complex and great as the “Great Gatsby’, and very flawed, Nick and Daisy are still characters who are worth the reader’s attention. They consist of complicated characteristics, both likable and repugnant, which made them seems like people who readers can relate to in their own lives. Novels are reflections of the realities, and having doubts and making bad decisions are things that everyone faces in their life.